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Safety

Activists Stump For Safer Chemical Plants

by Glenn Hess
August 31, 2009 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 87, ISSUE 35

Greenpeace activists descended on Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, and more than a dozen other states earlier this month in an effort to build support for legislation that could force thousands of chemical plants to switch to less hazardous processes—a ­requirement the industry strongly opposes as costly and unnecessary. When lawmakers return to Washington, D.C., in September, the House Energy & Commerce Committee plans to vote on two bills (H.R. 2868 and H.R. 3258) designed to lessen the consequences of a terrorist attack on a chemical facility. The Department of Homeland Security says there are 6,300 “high risk” chemical facilities in the U.S. More than 100 million Americans live in “vulnerability zones” surrounding just 300 of these facilities, according to Greenpeace. “No one believes that determined terrorists will be stopped by fence-line security,” Greenpeace Field Organizer Hannah Allison remarked at a press conference in North St. Louis. “The only way to eliminate the consequences of an attack is to convert plants to safer chemicals or processes.”

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