Mr. President. Homeland Security experts refer to chemical plants as "pre-positioned weapons of mass destruction." Yet over three years after the September 11 attacks, the Bush Administration has done almost nothing to enhance the security of the estimated 15,000 communities that surround major chemical facilities. I therefore support Senator Corzine's amendment to provide $100 million for state and local efforts to enhance the safety of communities around chemical plants. These funds are needed to allow for expanded law enforcement presence around plants, better training and preparation for first responders and local officials, and additional guidance for plant managers. This is just a first step, however. Communities can't do it alone. To truly enhance security, chemical sources themselves need to systematically implement security plans that address their unique vulnerabilities. Some facilities have already made considerable improvements, such as repositioning storage tanks away from public roads and hiring more guards. Here in Washington, DC, the Blue Plains water treatment plant went one step further by switching from chlorine to bleach, thereby reducing the inherent hazards posed by their operations. Notwithstanding these improvements, numerous media and government reports continue to document significant security gaps at many facilities. National legislation mandating federally-enforceable minimum standards is long overdue. When I was chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, we unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Senator Corzine out of Committee. Bowing to pressure from the petroleum and chemical industries, the Bush Administration put the brakes on this legislation. Now, almost two years later, we are still debating the same issues. We can't afford to ignore the risks posed by chemical plants any longer. There are over 15,000 chemical facilities nationwide storing sufficient quantities of hazardous chemicals to likely cause death or injury to the surrounding communities if released. The chemical industry's own data indicates that, in a worst case release, toxic chemicals could threaten more than 1 million people at each of 123 facilities spread across 24 states. There are also more than 700 facilities from which a chemical release could threaten more than 100,000 residential neighbors. This issue is too important to be ignored or added at the last minute to another bill without adequate time for proper consideration. I have asked my staff to continue working in a tri-partisan fashion to develop legislation that can be unanimously adopted by the Senate. If such an agreement can't be reached quickly, however, we should move stand alone legislation to the floor for a full debate. In the meantime, Mr. President, I urge my colleagues to support Senator Corzine's amendment to help communities surrounding chemical plants address the added security risks that these facilities pose. We should then quickly enact comprehensive chemical security legislation to supplement these community efforts and ensure that the chemical facilities themselves do their part to ensure the safety of our home towns.