ARLINGTON, Va. - American Chemistry Council (ACC) President and CEO Jack N. Gerard today issued this statement regarding the introduction of long-awaited chemical facility security legislation in the U.S. Senate.
"Four years is simply too long to wait following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 for Congress to help safeguard the men and women who make our nation's essential chemical products. America needs a comprehensive, federal plan to secure the critical chemical infrastructure that every sector of our economy relies on.
"We have testified before Congress in favor of tough federal legislation to ensure that all companies across America that make or handle chemicals are doing everything feasible to counter terrorism. Security experts know that chemical security is a national concern that requires a national solution, including perimeter protection, checkpoints, cyber security, employee training, supply chain improvement and other substantive enhancements.
"However, some in Congress have demanded extraneous environmental provisions in a security bill. In the face of terrorism, playing politics with the lives of the hundreds of thousands of employees, their neighbors and our nation's critical infrastructure is inexcusable. Meaningful security legislation is overdue -- it's time for Congress to put aside politics and do its job.
"We appreciate Senator Susan Collins' (R-ME) hard work and persistence in focusing on chemical security for the past year. We applaud her for moving the process forward by introducing a bipartisan bill today, and we thank Senator Lieberman (D-CT) for his part in that effort.
"While we have not yet been able to review the bill, it appears that the Senator's bill would grant authority to the Department of Homeland Security to require chemical facilities to assess vulnerabilities and close security gaps. These requirements are consistent with efforts undertaken by ACC members under our Responsible Care Security Code. Our member companies have spent more than $2 billion since 9/11 securing our facilities. All chemical makers should be held to the same standard. We hope Congress can close that gap.
"The chemistry industry provides essential, life-saving products for all Americans and is the cornerstone of our economy. Congress must help safeguard this critical national asset. We welcome the opportunity to work with the full membership of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, the entire Congress and the Administration to pass a tough, federal security bill next year."
Additional information on ACC's Responsible Care Security Code:
Following 9/11, ACC members implemented the Responsible Care Security Code, a comprehensive security program that requires every member facility to conduct a risk analysis, develop and implement a security plan and obtain third-party verification of implementation. The Code has been hailed as a model for enhancing security across the entire chemical sector. It also has been recognized as an equivalent security program under the U.S. Coast Guard's Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA). ACC members have invested more than $2 billion in facility, transportation and cyber security enhancement since 9/11.