Monday, November 17, 2014

Reader Comments 11-17-14

It is rare for me to get a reader interchange in the comments section of this blog and rarer still for those comments to be about my politics. But, an anonymous reader (apparently the owner of a small CFATS covered chemical facility) responded to my Sunday post about the chemical accident this weekend in Texas. Actually I think that maybe his comments were to/about me and were merely connected to the most recent blog. In any case, he noted:

“People like you have made America a regulatory nightmare. You're an apologist for a CFR police state, and when confronted about this you drop fear bombs to justify your point of view.”

He then goes on to complain about “Soviet-style bureaucrat from DHS” and the unconstitutionality of the CFATS program under the 4th, 5th, 9th, and 10th Amendments. I have some objections to both claims. First and foremost, the CFATS inspectors that I have talked with and corresponded with were not bureaucrats in any form, but were rather hardworking, caring and professionals who were primarily interested in helping facility owners keep their facilities safe from terrorist attack in the most efficient manner possible. There may be bureaucrats in ISCD Headquarters (though the ones that I have met certainly do not meet the classical soviet stereotype), the folks in the field are so far from that description to bear comparison by the most near-sighted citizen.

As to the second, [STADARD LEGAL CAVEAT: I AM NOT A LAWYER] that does not bear close scrutiny either:

4th Amendment – Search and Siesure – The Supreme Court has often held that regulatory inspections do not constitute searches.

5th Amendment – Self-incrimination – CFATS regulations are not criminal in nature so there can be no self-incrimination. Upheld in numerous instances for all sorts of regulatory programs.

9th Amendment – Rights not enumerated are protected – See next comment.

10th Amendment – States rights. Commerce clause and common defense clause of the constitution both provide the legal framework for the CFATS program.

The second anonymous commenter (with the nom de chem of Common Sense from the South) was rather blunt in responding to the first commenter and certainly more personally directed than I would have done. I do appreciate the characterization of this blog as “a respected professional blog”.


Reid said...

Hey Patrick -

Don't forget the first rule of the Internet: Don't Read the Comments (the second rule is 'Don't Feed the Trolls').

I've always found CFSN an interesting read. Your opinions are clearly labelled as opinions, and as an admittedly non-chemical guy your views on what should be done to improve chemical plant safety make sense to me.

Anyway, keep up the good writing and don't let the trolls weigh you down...


Stu Fischbeck said...

I second Reid's sentiments. There are likely many of us out here who know and appreciate your blog for what it is - a professional, objective, and well-commented catalogue of all things concerning the safety and security of hazardous chemicals. It takes a certain type of person to spend the time sifting through the regulatory and legislative flotsam and jetsam to cull what is useful and germane...and do it all on a volunteer basis! Thank you for all you do.

Stu Fischbeck

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