Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Terrorist Threat In Our Own Back Yard (again)

Our nation's officials don't have to get out the map to locate terrorist threats. Like Dorothy, they can find what they're looking for right in their own back yards.

The NY Times writes yet another editorial about how the Bush administration is ignoring the threat of chemical terrorisim at home -- in this case the possibility of blowing a rail bridge close to the Capitol while a rail tanker containing chlorine travels overhead.
The bridge is highly vulnerable to an explosion from below, and if deadly chemicals were released on it, they would endanger every member of Congress and as many as 250,000 other federal employees.

This vulnerability could be easily eliminated by a federal law barring the transportation of hazardous materials through Washington and other locations at high risk of a terrorist attack. But the railroads have fought such legislation, which would increase their costs. If the Bush administration and Congress are serious about homeland security, they will get a chemical transportation law passed at once.
Not likely. The Bush administration is violently allergic to regulation and is joining the railroads in opposing a DC law prohibiting hazardous cargo from being transported through the city while Congress worries about true threats to national security like flag-burning.
When it comes to defending the nation from terrorism, the president and the Republican leadership in Congress have been unwilling to make large corporations, many of them big campaign donors, shoulder their share of the burden. Washington's residents and employees should not have to risk their lives to save CSX the cost of rerouting shipments of ultrahazardous materials.