March 20, 2007                                                    
                                                                                        MATT DEMPSEY 202-224-9797 (INHOFE)
                                                                                        JEN BURITA 202-224-2523 (COLLINS)
WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sent a letter on Friday, March 16, 2007 to Chairman Byrd (D-WV) and Ranking Member Cochran (R-MS) on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, urging the Senate to reject any attempts to include the House language in the Senate version of the Fiscal year 2007 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act. The letter states that “further Congressional action at this time would unnecessarily frustrate the Department’s [Department of Homeland Security (DHS)] effort to secure our nation’s highest risk chemical facilitates.”
Senator Inhofe:
“I am committed to working together with Senator Collins and several other Senators to protect the compromise reached last year on chemical security legislation.  The measure recently passed in the House will face tough opposition in the United States Senate.”
Senator Collins:
“It is critical that the Department of Homeland Security work to implement regulations to protect our most vulnerable chemical facilities from the threat of a terrorist attack.  It makes no sense to delay these crucial efforts by rewriting the law just as the regulations are due to be implemented.”
Senators Inhofe and Collins worked together with a group of Senators last year to ensure passage of chemical security legislation. The chemical security provisions were included in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations conference bill. Last week, the House appropriations committee included language in the Iraq emergency supplemental appropriations bill that would significantly weaken the reasonable protections provided in last year’s DHS appropriations bill.