May 26, 2011: Rep. Markey Speaks Out Against Loopholes in GOP Chemical Security Bill

 

Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)

Statement in support of the Waxman substitute to H.R. 908, Full Implementation of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act

Energy and Commerce Committee

May 26, 2011


 

 

 

“I rise in support of the gentleman’s amendment.

 
“Yesterday, during the first part of this markup, Ms. Bono Mack said she missed my singing. And I found myself thinking that a little song might be nice.  So, with apologies to Sam Cooke, and with all blame on the gentle-lady from California:
 

“Don't know much about chemistry

“Don't know much toxicology

“Don't know what’s ammonium nitrate

“Except it’s easy to detonate

“But I do know if I.S.T.

“Was used to increase our security

“What a much safer world this could be

 
“Don't know much about the gas chlorine

“Other than it makes your water clean

“But it turns out it can also kill

“And it’s included in this bill

“But I know when companies convert

“Their bottom lines do not have to hurt

“What a much safer world this could be

 

“In all seriousness, I’d just like to point out that Congress has enacted legislation to upgrade security in sectors ranging from aviation to rail to nuclear power plants.  But Congress has been unable to enact comprehensive chemical security legislation. Instead, we have relied on an incomplete and inadequate legislative rider that was inserted into an Appropriations bill in 2006 that amounted to little more than a long run-on sentence.

“That is why, in the last Congress, I worked with then-Chairmen Waxman, Bennie Thompson and Jim Oberstar to craft legislation that addressed the weaknesses in current law. We spent the better part of a year meeting with the Administration, Republicans, and industrial, environmental and labor stakeholders, and incorporated much of their input into our bill.

“Our final product, which was reported out of this Committee, closed the loopholes in the Department of Homeland Security’s existing authority by ensuring that drinking water, wastewater and maritime facilities that contain dangerous chemicals would no longer be exempted from the regulations.  We ensured that the Department and EPA would have the authority to require the use of cost-effective safer chemicals or processes to reduce the consequences of a terrorist attack at the most dangerous facilities. We also included a number of important worker safety and whistleblower protections.

“Yet today, Republicans have proposed to merely extend the expiration date for the existing and inadequate law to 2018, leaving open all the loopholes the Democratic legislation closed.

“Mr. Waxman’s amendment substitutes most of our comprehensive efforts of last year for the inadequate, dangerous legislation Republicans have proposed.

“I urge support for Mr. Waxman’s substitute amendment.”