From my Recommended List Daily Kos diary today.
Earlier this month, hidden in the din about the HCR debate, the House quietly passed a bill that, if enacted into law, will help secure our country from terrorist attacks on chemical plants and waste & drinking water treatment plants. The bill was H.R. 2868 and is called “The Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009”.
On November 6, it passed on a vote of 230-193.
Can you guess how many Republicans voted FOR it?
Can you say ZERO?
I knew you could.
Why did they vote against this vital piece of legislation? Well, it’s easy to predict: it would cost the affected industries some money. The GOP clamors for protecting us against terrorists and speechify endlessly about the threat of global terrorism so that we’re all SCARED!!!. But when it comes to actually taking measures to do that, well, don’t be asking Big Business to have to have to spend their money on it.
As usual with the GOP, it’s profits before people.
The high points of this legislation were well-summarized by Greenpeace USA:
1. Reduce the consequences of an attack through the use of available, cost-effective safer and more secure chemicals and processes
2. Include all categories of facilities such as water treatment plants
3. Involve plant employees in developing plant security programs, including participation in workplace investigations, and protect employees from excessive background checks
4. Allow citizen petitions to enhance enforcement at chemical facilities and citizen suits to ensure government accountable
5. Allow states to set more protective security standards
(You can read a summary of the bill HERE.)
The US Chamber of Commerce was against it.
The National Paint & Coatings Association is against it.
Grover Norquist got in on the act.
And not a single Republican voted for it.
Their main complaint was that it would cost industry money. In a letter to Henry Waxman [pdf], the Chamber of Commerce cited three points:
1. It allows state and local agencies set more stringent rules than the federal government.
2. It allows for “citizens’ suits” against companies that don’t protect their local communities appropriately.
3. It requires facilities to investigate “inherently safer technologies” or ISTs
The GOP and the Chamber are famous for touting “states’ rights” but they don’t want state and local groups to be able to make these particular decisions for themselves. They also want to prevent citizens from making waves. And, God forbid, they don’t want to have to spend extra cash making their facilities safer if it affects their profit margins!
The CBO scored it favorably and the average cost to Americans was found to be $5 over the 2011-2014 period.
The even fought an amendment that would “requires assessments and implementation of methods to reduce the consequences of a terrorist attack.”
That’s our GOP, looking out for the best interests of
American citizens that leave near chemical industry plants.
Well done. Not.
You can see how your Representative voted HERE.
I’m just sayin’…
ACTION UPDATE: The bill has now been sent to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The members of that Committee are:
Joseph I. Lieberman, Chairman (ID-CT)
Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI)
Carl Levin (D-MI)
Thomas R. Carper (D-DE)
Mark L. Pryor (D-AR)
Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA)
Jon Tester (D-MT)
Roland Burris (D-IL)
Paul G. Kirk, Jr. (D-MA)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Susan M. Collins, Ranking Member (R-ME)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
John McCain (R-AZ)
George V. Voinovich (R-OH)
John Ensign (R-NV)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Robert F. Bennett (R-UT)
You know what to do…
UDPATE 2: You can also use this page on the Greenpeace website to make your voice heard.
UPDATE 3: My friend from Daily Kos, wade norris, has thrown his hat into the ring for the Huffington Post‘s Hopenhagen Citizen Journalist contest. Go HERE to send my well-deserving friend to the Copenhagen Global Climate Change Summit. Be sure to vote “10” for Wade!!!