Bush Administration Joins Industry to Block Anti-Terror Regulation of Chemical Plants

Found at the Huffington Post. This is related more than somewhat to my previous griping about how your (Americans) nuclear power plants are racing terrorists to blow themselves up first.

For nearly seven years, the chemical, oil and gas industries have successfully fought proposals to require stringent anti-terror security measures at facilities storing poisonous materials such as chlorine and methyl mercaptan.

These industries have been especially opposed to legislation requiring “inherently safer technology,” a policy industry officials and the Bush administration view as both setting an excessively high standard and as leaving companies more vulnerable to lawsuits for failing to comply.

The chemical, oil and gas lobbies have successfully fended off regulation even under a Democratic Congress. A provision adamantly resisted by the industry was included in the first Iraq supplemental appropriation, which was vetoed by President Bush. The House added it again to the second Iraq supplemental appropriation, but it was quietly removed during final negotiations between top officials of the House and Senate at the request of Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, whose staff said he was acting at the behest of the White House.

Note that especially nasty anti-democratic bit at the end. No taxation without representation, you say?

So now we can add Bhopal to Chenobyl and the list of other disasters that may soon have an American skyline behind them.

In 1994, the oil and gas industry contributed a total of $17.5 million to Congressional candidates, with two thirds of it, $11 million, going to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. By 2002, the industry gave a total of $25 million, with 80 percent, $19.9 million, going to Republicans. From 1990 to 2006, the chemical industry contributed $3 to Republicans for every $1 to Democrats, or $46 million to $14.2 million.

Similarly, at least 85 of Bush’s major fundraisers – “Pioneers” who collected at least $100,000 and “Rangers” who collected $200,000 or more – were corporate officials in oil, gas, chemical and fertilizer companies.

Although industry forces with the backing of the administration were able to fend off the Corzine bill, pressure to require new security measures at facilities housing dangerous chemicals continued. In 2006, the Republican Congress authorized the Department of Homeland Security to oversee this sector.

That legislation and the regulations growing out of it, issued two months ago, met with the approval of the industry.


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