WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) issued the following statement commemorating the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

This week we commemorate the eighth anniversary of the most devastating attack on our country since Pearl Harbor,” said Markey. “The planes which destroyed the World Trade Center towers took off from Boston.  The planes carried 142 passengers and crew members, many of them were our neighbors, and the catastrophe almost 200 miles south in Manhattan was also a catastrophe for victims’ families and their loved ones and friends in communities across Massachusetts."

“The September 11th attacks demonstrated that America’s very strengths – its technology and its open society – could be turned into weapons and used against us.  We have spent much of the past eight years trying to reduce the opportunities for terrorists to exploit our vulnerabilities; while we can claim significant achievements we must admit that the job is not done. 


“Two years ago, the Democratic Congress passed legislation to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, designating it as our top priority – H.R. 1.  But much work to implement the bill’s provisions and other needed homeland security upgrades is still needed, and it is now up to the Obama Administration to end the years of delays, obstruction and catering to industry’s demands that was characteristic of the Bush Administration’s homeland security policy.


“I authored a provision in the 9/11 law to require the screening, within three years, of all the cargo carried on passenger planes to a level of security commensurate with the level of security applied to passengers’ checked bags. The statutory deadline is less than one year from now, in August 2010. I am concerned that the system developed by the previous administration to implement the 100 percent screening requirement is facing significant challenges and must be quickly remedied by this Administration in order to comply with the law.


“A requirement that I helped to insert into the 9/11 law contains a mandate to scan all inbound maritime cargo at its point of origin by 2012, unless the Department of Homeland Security chooses to extend the deadline for a particular port or group of ports because of technological, economic or other barriers.  I believe that Congress included sufficient flexibility in the statutory requirements to address any delays in meeting the 2012 statutory deadline for maritime scanning that may have been caused as a result of inaction by the last Administration, and now the Obama Administration is tasked with implementing this vital security safeguard.


“Since 9/11, Congress has enacted legislation to secure the aviation, maritime, rail, mass transit, nuclear energy and other sectors.  But what we have yet to do is act on comprehensive legislation to secure the facilities that make or store dangerous chemicals.  Instead, we have relied on the incomplete, inadequate and loophole-ridden legislative language that was inserted into a 2007 Appropriations bill behind closed doors that amounted to little more than a long run-on sentence. The Energy and Environment Subcommittee which I chair will soon act on comprehensive chemical security legislation that will close the loopholes in part by requiring each high-risk facility to assess whether it could use safer processes or technologies and provide authority to ensure that the highest-risk facilities do so if it is economically and technologically possible.


“The upcoming anniversary is a time for reflection and commemoration.  But it is also an opportunity to review the progress we have made towards improving the security of all Americans. 


“On this 8th anniversary of a terrible tragedy, I am taking time to both remember those who we lost and to rededicate myself to ensuring that such a tragedy will never again be allowed to occur.”




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