Industry Challenges D.C. Ban on Hazmat Rerouting

The rail company banned from shipping hazardous cargo through the nation’s capital has filed a suit to overturn the emergency legislation that was enacted earlier this month. The local law bans rail shipments of hazardous cargo from a 2.2-mile radius around the U.S.

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D.C. Council Passes Bill to Reroute Hazardous Materials

Last week, the City Council of Washington, DC, voted 10–1, with one abstention, to enact emergency legislation requiring rail companies to reroute hazardous cargo around the city. This legislation, “Terrorism Prevention in Hazardous Materials Transportation Emergency Act of 2005,” will make Washington the first city in the nation requiring companies to route hazardous cargo shipments away from population centers. The bill now only needs D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams’ signature.

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Senate Declines to Act on Corzine's Chemical Security Amendment

In an effort to break the congressional logjam on chemical security, Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) has offered a piece of compromise legislation as an amendment to the intelligence reform bill. Unfortunately, the amendment was ruled non-germane to the bill and rejected from consideration.

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Study Finds Nuclear Facilities Vulnerable to Attack

Access to information on nuclear security has been hard to come by, but some information has been surfacing that raises concerns about the security of America's nuclear power plants. Since 9/11, nuclear reactors and chemical plants have received considerable attention with critics calling for stronger government requirements and oversight to better ensure the safety of neighboring communities.

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Chemical Security Update: Homeland Security Amendment

The Senate passed the Department of Homeland Security FY2005 appropriations bill (H.R. 4567) this week, although a chemical security amendment, introduced by Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ), was tabled.

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New Report Explores Chemical Dangers from Power Plants

A new report by the Working Group on Community Right-to-Know estimates that 3.5 million Americans living near some 225 non-nuclear power plants are at risk from leaks or releases of gaseous ammonia or chlorine. It calls for these plants to switch to safer alternatives to ensure the safety of surrounding communities.

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Government Web Secrecy Doesn't Provide Security

A recent report by the RAND Corporation reveals that information scrubbed from government websites after the Sept. 11 attacks were unnecessary and unproductive in protecting against terrorism. Many government agencies have removed extensive amounts of information from their websites on the remote chance it could be misused by terrorists. The RAND report establishes that the agencies' approach of viewing information only as a threat and not considering the benefits is erroneous.

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Nuclear Insecurity Under DOE

A new Department of Energy (DOE) regulation could threaten safety standards at nuclear weapons facilities nationwide. At the same time, findings by DOE’s watchdog office reveal that nuclear facilities cheated during mock attacks.

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NRC Secrecy Unlikely to Lead to Security for Neighbors

While the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued new security standards for nuclear power plants defending against terrorist attacks, residents near these plants are unlikely to even be aware of them. The standards have been developed without the consultation of key groups, and most of the new rules are not being made public.

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$28 Billion Question Mark

The Pentagon has spent almost all of the $28.5 billion in “emergency-response” funds allocated to them by Congress in the year after the September 11th attacks. However, almost nothing is available to the public explaining how the taxpayer’s money was spent. Apparently, even confidential reports to congressional staff leave too many questions about the expenditures unanswered.

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