February 28, 2006

WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today expressed concerns with recommendations from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) calling for the consideration of safer technologies to improve security at chemical facilities as well as the involvement of the Environmental Protection Agency in studying potential impacts.

“The issue of chemical security is an issue of security, not environmental protection,” Senator Inhofe said. “To recommend involving the Environmental Protection Agency runs counter to what we should be accomplishing in terms of enhancing protections at chemical plants and other facilities. The GAO recognized the extensive efforts being taken by the Department of Homeland Security to secure this critical infrastructure.

“DHS has indicated to GAO its belief that a move toward safer technologies would not improve security at chemical facilities, but only ‘shift risks rather than eliminate them.’ This is an important point to keep in mind. IST is a concept environmental special interests have been promoting since well before September 11th. It is not a solution for improving security, and DHS opposes its use as such.

“DHS continues to work diligently and cooperatively with industry to identify and secure potential vulnerabilities, and Congress should not write legislation that would effectively undo those good efforts. Those of us on the Environment and Public Works Committee have several years of experience with this issue, and we will be watching with great interest how legislative efforts may unfold.”