ANTHRAX HEARING SEN. JIM INHOFE
1. enhanced detection systems for chemical and biological agents; and
2. EPA's compliance with all of their regulations during the remediation process.
0klahoma is no stranger to terrorism. Until September 11th, Oklahoma had the unfortunate distinction of having been the victim of the worst terrorist act. As a result, what we as a nation are doing right now; Oklahoma has been doing for a few years now. That is looking at how do we prevent and mitigate terrorist acts.
Since September 23, 1999, under the direction of Former Army General and Chief the Staff Dennis Reimer, the Oklahoma City National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT) has been dedicated to preventing and reducing terrorism and mitigating its effects by conducting not only research into the social and political causes and effects of terrorism and but also the development of technologies to counter biological, nuclear and chemical weapons of mass destruction as well as cyber terrorism.
Originally incorporated, on, as a non-profit corporation in Oklahoma and recognized as a charitable organization by the Internal Revenue Service, MIPT grew out of the desire of the survivors and families of the Murrah Federal Building bombing of April 19, 1995 to have a living memorial. As Oklahomans, we intend to honor that desire by doing what we can to try to prevent other cities from living through what Oklahoma City had to live through --and what New York and Virginia are living through now.
MIPT has a special obligation to first responders - police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and all of the others who are first on the scene in the aftermath of terrorist activity. Therefore, they also sponsor research to discover equipment, training and procedures that might assist them in preventing terrorism and responding to it. While MIPT has a special obligation to first responders, they are prepared to engage in any activities that will help them fulfill our mandate.
For example, unfortunately, today's anthrax vaccine is not appropriate for protecting the general public, so there is a critical need to develop new therapies that could be quickly administered following a bioterrorist attack. Therefore, just recently, MIPT and the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center started a three-year, $2.48 million research effort to develop new drugs which will lessen the threat from anthrax. Specifically, this research seeks to develop new medications that block the lethal toxins produced by anthrax bacteria. These medications could be much more effective than the current vaccine since they would target toxin activity after the initial anthrax infection.
With this tool that may counter anthrax more effectively than the current vaccine, the United States may be better positioned to deter terrorists from considering this type of weapon in the future.
This project is one of ten counter terrorism projects that MIPT is currently pursuing. Other projects include better protective clothing for those working in hazardous environments, enhanced detection systems for chemical and biological agents, a study of communications surrounding terrorist episodes, a study of the psychological impact of terrorism, defense of communications systems, and databases on terrorism and counter terrorism equipment.
MIPT currently funds projects all over the country, including California, Florida, Missouri, Rhode Island, and Virginia. MIPT has also received over 250 proposals for its next round of research projects. A decision on which of these projects to fund will be made in the course of the next 90 days. As we move forward with preventing and mitigating terrorism, I would urge my colleagues to work with MIPT. Perhaps, the testimony, which we hear today, can help provide some ideas to further MIPT's critical work.