Monday, June 12, 2006

Legislative Alerts: Stickler and Chemical Plant Security

Yes, that’s plural. Lots happening in Washington these days. And here’s your chance to affect them.

Oppose Richard Sticker

I already wrote about the need to call your Senators and ask them oppose the nomination of Richard Stickler to head the Mine Safety and Health Administration. More on why Stickler is an inappropriate choice here.

All senators should be contacted, but if you live in Pennsylvania, Ohio or Alabama, Senators DeWine (OH), Specter and Santorum (PA) and Shelby and Sessions (AL) are particularly curious about what you think.

The vote is scheduled for Tuesday at 2:30.

If you don’t know your Senator’s phone number, call the Senate Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Chemical Plant Security Bill Needs Improving and Defending

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, June 14th the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chaired by Senator Susan Collins R-ME) will vote on comprehensive chemical security legislation.

The bad news is that the bill (S. 2145) that Collins is offering is weak and will not protect communities from the catastrophic risks they currently face.

The good news is that strengthening amendments are being offered.

The worse news is that weakening amendments are also being proposed.

I’ve written numerous times about the debate over chemical plant, most recently here, where I also summarized Collins’ bill.

All the Senators on the committee need to hear from you, but particularly Chafee (R-RI), Coleman (R-MN), Warner, (R-VA) and Pryor (D-AR). In addition to the Senators mentioned above, additional Committee Democrats are Levin (MI), Akaka (HI), Carper (DE), Dayton (MN). Republicans are Stevens (AK), Coburn (OK), Bennett (UT), Dominci (NM).

This is what you need to tell them:
  • Encourage them to vote for an amendment by Senators Lieberman (D-CT) and Lautenberg (D-NJ) to require safer technologies.

  • Encourage them to vote for an amendment by Senator Lautenberg that would include meaningful participation by worker in formulating plant security plans and an amendment to include the EPA in developing and implementing the law.

  • Strongly oppose several weakening amendments by Senator Voinovich (R-OH) that would preempt states (such as N.J.) and localities from setting more protective security standards; that would eliminate the voluntary safer technology provision in the
    Collins bill.
A number of environmental organizations, as well as the United Steelworkers, United Auto Workers, Communications Workers of America, and United Food and Commercial Workers unions have also sent a letter to the committee.

Again, go here for more background on this issue, and the Senate Switchboard number is: (202) 224-3121.

Pick up the phone. We want them all scratching their heads, wondering where all these calls are coming from.