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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 24, 2002
1:04 PM
CONTACT:  Greenpeace USA
202-319-2472
EPA Told to Stand Up to White House on Homeland Security
Protestors Say Ten Months of Inaction on Chemical Plants "Intolerable"
 
WASHINGTON - 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.

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