Chertoff Outlines Chemical Plant Security

Security inspection would be handled by private auditors, industry would decide how to protect plants

Chertoff said requiring those safer substitutes would represent "mission creep" - shifting the security focus to environmental concerns. He declined to specify whether federal regulations would trump state rules, a point of concern for governors and some in Congress.

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers stopped short of endorsing the proposal but were pleased the Bush administration appeared ready to regulate the industry.

"The clearly stated intent of terrorists to cause maximum harm to the American people and to our economy makes these measures necessary," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

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