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.

1 comment:

ThomKay said...

Mr. Coyle,
Your lack of knowledge of how labor and environmental groups work is disappointing.
1. "The best I can tell this is nothing but a fund raising publicity stunt by the groups." Really? You think people donate their own money because they like the letters we write? Donors care about results, and that's what all of these groups are working towards.
2. "This" congress is going to be about 90% the same as next congress. We have to continue our fight through recess if we're going to get these provisions passed by next October.
3. The letter does not blame Republicans or Democrats. It doesn't emphasize fault at all. Its emphasis is on the importance of passing the provisions.
I get that you're a former, and hope to be a future, industry employee. Your dislike of Pelosi is evident. But, for a while now, your comments about these groups, Greenpeace in particular, are ill informed at best.

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