- July 24 - At EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., members of Greenpeace and
Clean Water Action passed out "ballots" today to EPA employees urging them to
"stand up to the White House and pollution lobby" by casting their votes for chemical
plant safety legislation. Greenpeace spokesperson, Rick Hind said, "the last ten
months of inaction by the EPA are intolerable."
A large banner of the ballot displayed "EPA's Choice on Homeland Security"
offering two options: "New Chemical Plant Safety Law" or "More Inaction & Polluter
Secrecy." Another banner named President Bush the "Toxic Texan."
In a letter today to EPA Administrator,
Christine Todd Whitman, Greenpeace urged the Administration to "put special interest
politics aside and pursue legislation." A vote is scheduled tomorrow in the Senate
Environment and Public Works Committee. Charging the EPA with ten months of "inaction"
and policy reversals, the group concluded the letter saying that "rapidly approaching
anniversary of September 11th is a grim reminder that history will not judge missed
opportunities and further inaction kindly."
Hind added, "leaked EPA documents show dramatic policy reversals by the EPA
that strongly suggest that the Agency has been overruled by the White House to
satisfy the pollution lobby." One of these documents shows that the EPA was actually
drafting legislation until Congress first scheduled action on the bill in June.
A bi-partisan Senate vote in the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee
would be a major step toward the enactment of a new law that would help eliminate
similar terrorist threats at chemical plants across the U.S. "The pollution lobby
and their friends at the White House should not be allowed to kill this urgently
needed legislation," said Hind.
EPA records show that 123 chemical facilities could threaten a million or
more nearby residents if attacked. The U.S. Army's surgeon general estimates that
2.4 million people could be killed or injured in a terrorist attack at one U.S.
toxic chemical plant. And recently a Pittsburgh reporter anonymously walked into
more than 60 US chemical plants without challenge.