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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Terrorism and Houston's Chemical Plants

Today an article appeared in the Houston Chronicle concerning the possibility of a terror attack against a U.S. chemical plant and its severe consequences.

Texas has the vast majority of chemical plants, which are toxic bombs if a terrorist attacked one. I did TV terrorism reports since the first Gulf War and on 9 11. I put us very high on the terrorist hit list. With Houston, a terrorist (even a domestic one like Tim McVeigh) could generate toxic clouds that could kill thousands, and even damage the nation's refinery capability.

Yet Congress has allowed chemical companies to police themselves. Sorry to say, it's not working.

To quote from the article:

... Homeland Security Acting Undersecretary Robert Stephan told congressional committees that "it has become clear that the entirely voluntary efforts of these companies alone will not sufficiently address security for the entire sector."

So why does Congress always have to wait for the next Titanic to act?

BEFORE we have another terrorist attack, Congress needs to require security upgrades at our chemical plants. Right now the plants don't even have to test their security measures. Reporters have walked into these plants undetected, meaning anyone could. We’ve been lucky more than smart.

An Iowa cornfield is not a meaningful target; a Houston area chemical plant or refinery is.

But so far, Congress has done nothing about it. This isn't really helping either citizens or the chemical companies themselves.

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