Thursday, April 29, 2004

Kerry Calls For Chem Plant Security

John Kerry is clearly a regular reader of Confined Space. Today the Democratic Presidential candidate criticized President Bush for neglecting chemical plant security at home while Americans continue to die in a wild goose chase for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. (He didn't actually use those words, but he hasn't yet hired me as his speech writer.)

Confined Space has addressed this issue several times (here and here) noting the potential for a chemical plant explosion to wipe out far more lies than 9/11 along with the number of occasions over the past couple of years that reporters have been able to slip unimpeded into chemical plants past their "security."

Kerry endorsed the idea present in legislation introduced by Senator Jon Corzine that would require chemical plants to do security assessments, increase physical security and require the use of less dangerous chemicals and technologies whenever that is practicable. The Bush Administration and the American Chemical Council want to make such assessments voluntary and do not want any requirement to use less dangerous chemicals.

Kerry blamed the administration's inaction on his political ties to the chemical industry.
Kerry said Bush has accommodated the chemical industry, which favors voluntary efforts to improve security, because of campaign contributions from executives.

The Kerry campaign cited pledges to Bush during 2000 and 2004 of at least $1.5 million from 15 fund-raisers it said were tied to the chemical industry. The campaign also cited nearly $6.5 million in soft-money contributions -- corporate, union or unlimited donations -- from the industry to Republicans during the 2000 and 2002 campaigns.

"This administration unfortunately has been unwilling to take these steps because they have sided with the chemical industry that pushes back,'' Kerry said. "We don't care who they're writing campaign checks to. It's time for them to make America stronger.''
Kerry's website goes into more detail on connections between the Bush administration an the chemical indusry.

And in one of the many statements from the Bush Administration that fails the Confined Space laugh test, a spokesman claimed tht he was shocked, SHOCKED, that John Kerry was playing politics with homeland security:
"John Kerry has played politics with homeland security throughout this campaign, and today he is doing it again," Bush spokesman Steve Schmidt said. "John Kerry voted against the Department of Homeland Security six times and wants to weaken the Patriot Act. His speech today is not a credible alternative but a retread of policies that the president has already advocated."
This is from the same administration, you may recall, that used 9/11 footage of dead firefighters in its first campaign commercials and will hold its convention in NY right before 9/11.