Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Push for New Chemical Facility Security Law
There was an interesting article yesterday on HSToday.US about a ‘new’ push for chemical security legislation. According to the article by Phil Liggiere, a varied group of labor, environmental and public interest groups just recently sent a letter to the current members of Congress calling for passage of a chemical facility security bill with provisions similar to those found in HR 5577. The best I can tell this is nothing but a fund raising publicity stunt by the groups. This Congress is not due to meet again, so it really can’t do anything, nor has it shown any inclination to act in any case. I’ll be much more impressed if they send a letter to the winners of the November election. Or, more importantly, if they work against the re-election of the people responsible for the failure of HR 5577 to come to a floor vote, the Speaker and the Democratic Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. The article, and presumably the letter, blames the Republican minority and business interests from holding up work on chemical security legislation. While the Republican minority in the Senate was large enough to stall legislation the same could not be said in the House. The failure of the House to pass HR 5577 was more about committee status and the inability of Speaker Pelosi to control the Democrats. The article does note that Rep Wynn (D-Md) was opposed to HR 5577, but it fails to note that he had effectively resigned from Congress prior to HR 5577 being introduced (and went to work for a chemical industry lobbying firm). If he had stayed in Congress he could have held up consideration of HR 5577, but he had no official effect on the legislation. No, the failure of HR 5577 in the House can only be blamed on the leadership (a clear misnomer) of the House.