Two bills that seek to reduce the risk of a terrorist attack on U.S. chemical facilities and water treatment plants were delivered to the Senate June 15. A Democratic Senator from New Jersey said the Secure Chemical Facilities Act and Secure Water Facilities Act would obligate chemical, drinking water and wastewater sites to analyze their exposure to a potential terrorist assault, and devise courses of action to rectify any vulnerabilities. “This legislation would close a gap that leaves millions of families vulnerable to an attack on America’s chemical plants and water treatment facilities,” he said in released remarks. “Terrorism experts identified chemical and water plants as one of the top risks to our nation following the Sept. 11 attacks. When companies use chemicals that put thousands of lives at risk, it is essential that they find safer ways to do business.” Possible fixes could include lowering use of chlorine and keeping lower levels of “lethal gases” on site. The bills would also: require the safeguarding of sensitive, facility-security details while allowing for the dissemination of information between first responders, employees and local and state governments; empower area residents to make sure sites are in compliance with security protocols; and provide some funding to address the expense of analyzing plants’ exposure to attacks and to establish new safeguards.

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