Saturday, March 25, 2006

Chem Plant Security: Too Cozy With Industry

The Centre Daily Times gets it.

I wrote earlier this week about the administration's chemical plant security plan: let private industry set the standards and private sector auditors police it. It didn't sound like a good idea to me. The Centre Daily Times out of State College, Pennsylvania doesn't either:

Cozy - like too many government-industry relationships these days. "Trust industry" is a lousy safety philosophy. If industry cooperation worked so well, Congress wouldn't be investigating the hands-off approach of the Mine safety and Health Administration following the Sago mine accident.

Chemical plant security needs a vigilant watchdog, not the industry-sanctioned benchmarks and private auditors that Chertoff prescribed Tuesday. Congressional testimony and Government Accountability Office reports have repeatedly rejected industry's "voluntary efforts" as insufficient to protect chemical plants from terrorist attack. It's long past time that Congress mandated better.