WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, released a report entitled “To Secure America: The State of Homeland Security and Implications for Massachusetts,” in advance of the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Markey, the only member of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation serving on the Homeland Security Committee, has been a longtime critic of the Bush Administration’s failures to expend the resources and stand up to corporate interests to better secure the United States in six sectors. Markey’s report examines the state of aviation, chemical, nuclear, LNG, public transportation, and hazardous materials security, and includes a focus on how these security weaknesses affect Massachusetts.
Markey said, “The reality is that five years after two planes left Logan Airport and headed toward the World Trade Center, there are still many gaping loopholes that could be exploited by terrorists. The Bush Administration has relied on a faith-based homeland security policy: It prays that Al Qaeda won’t take advantage of the glaring vulnerabilities created by Republicans’ failure to spend the money and implement the regulations needed in a post-9/11 world.”
“From LNG in Everett to unscreened cargo at Logan Airport, to freight trains crossing the state carrying hazardous materials, Massachusetts has its share of potential terrorist targets and the federal government isn’t doing enough to provide the security we need at these sites. It is the responsibility of the federal government to prevent large scale terrorist attacks – not just rely on local fire and police departments to respond to them,” Markey stated.
Markey’s report highlights a number of lingering problems that must be addressed by the Bush Administration and the Congress as soon as possible including:
- Cargo continues to be loaded on passenger airplanes at Logan and around the country without being screened for explosives;
- Small airports around the country are vulnerable to terrorists and access to planes is virtually unfettered;
- Chemical plants in Massachusetts and around the country are not subject to any Federal security requirements whatsoever, and many continue to use hazardous chemicals or processes even when safer alternatives exist;
- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has still not permanently upgraded security at nuclear power plants (including Pilgrim, Yankee, and Seabrook).
- The NRC refuses to fully distribute potassium iodide (KI) pills to families living around nuclear power plants, which would help stop absorption of certain types of nuclear radiation, and the Romney Administration refuses to request KI pills for families within the full 20-mile radius of a nuclear power plants (a provision Markey authored increasing the range from 10 to 20 miles was signed into law in 2003);
- The Everett LNG facility gets no federal security oversight or funding after the tanker has unloaded its highly combustible liquid natural gas;
- Less than one penny per rail passenger is spent federally on rail security, leaving the ‘T,’ Amtrak, and other mass transit systems open to Madrid or London-style terror attacks;
- Hazardous materials are routinely transported through residential areas even when safer routes exist and with few security measures taken.
Markey’s report can be found here: Markey MA Homeland Security Report 9-8-2006.pdf
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2006
CONTACT: Israel Klein