Saturday, November 03, 2007

Bush admin protects the people that matter. . . to them

The latest from the Department of Featherbedding and Crony Protection Homeland Security: New! Lower standards!

DHS chose the traditional late Friday news dump cycle to unveil significantly weakened rules governing the security of the nation’s chemical stockpiles and hazardous chemical producers. (That would be weakened from the draft rules proposed in April; before that, the Bush Administration and its rubberstamp Republican Congress dragged their feet for five-and-a-half years on what to do about post-9/11 chemical security. It took the election of a Democratic Congress and the threat of new legislation to motivate this “action.”)

DHS in April proposed a list of 344 chemicals that businesses would have to track and disclose to the department through an online reporting system. But under heavy criticism from industry, it released a less stringent version yesterday, reducing the number of targeted chemicals to about 300 and raising the reporting threshold of many chemicals of highest security concern.

For instance, DHS increased the reporting trigger for stored chlorine from 1,875 pounds to 2,500 pounds, exempting a standard one-ton shipping cylinder used by industry. Insurgents in Iraq have used bombs to disperse liquid chlorine into toxic gas clouds.

DHS also increased the disclosure threshold for ammonium nitrate from 7,500 pounds to 10,000 pounds. That substance was a component in fertilizer-based bombs used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.

"There are 10 widely recognized ultra-hazardous chemicals. . . . To a chemical, their thresholds increased," said Rick Hind, legislative director for Greenpeace Toxics Campaign. "When push comes to shove, Homeland Security here folded like a sheet to industry pressure. . . . It's clear for whom these laws and loopholes were written."

There is little more to say about yet another example of Bush/Cheney favoring private interest over public security. . . except this:

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Senate's homeland security panel, called the new rules "good news." The American Chemistry Council, which represents the nation's largest chemical companies, including Dow Chemical, DuPont and BASF, also said it "strongly supports" DHS's approach.

I will never forgive the Democratic leadership for not throwing out that little creep when they had the chance.

(cross-posted on The Seminal)

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