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99% of U.S. chemical facilities at high risk of terrorist attack have yet to pass security inspections


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(NaturalNews) How efficient is the federal government at preventing terrorist attacks, especially at US chemical facilities? According to Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, the current federal terrorist prevention regulations are "a broken program that is not making us measurably safer against the threat of a terrorist attack."

A $595 million terror prevention program was passed by Congress in 2006, but it fails on multiple levels, according to a yearlong investigation by the Senate Homeland Security Committee. In fact, according to the San Jose Mercury News, the report found so much inspection delay, error in risk assessment and government-influenced industry loopholes that 99 percent of US chemical facilities have yet to pass proper security inspections. This makes chemical spills, explosions and public health hazards more likely while increasing the risk of chemical-related terrorism.

Another government security program failing to protect Americans

It seems that the idea of using government as a vehicle to provide blanket security is failing once again.

However, Department of Homeland Security spokesperson S.Y. Lee likes the government program. "The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program is an important part of our nation's counterterrorism efforts," adding that DHS is committed "to build on the progress it has made."
These statements come a year after a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, went up in a massive explosion. Toxic and flammable chemicals spewed into the area. Now, DHS has identified 4,011 high-risk facilities in 10 states, as they try to prevent more explosions.

S.Y. Lee noted that DHS has increased monitoring efforts in the past year, approving security plans for 750 facilities. The program is set to be reauthorized over multiple years now instead of every year, so the government can supposedly better plan security measures over the long haul.
99 percent of high-risk chemical facilities yet to pass security inspections

Contrary to DHS promises, the new Senate accountability report finds that the Department of Homeland Security continuously fails to conduct security compliance inspections on 3,972 of the 4,011 high-risk facilities that they are supposed to be regulating. This means that 99 percent of the security promised by DHS is false security. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee recently addressed the findings.

The high-risk facilities are classified based on the amount of flammable chemicals contained on site. These chemicals typically include chlorine, corrosives and chemicals like ammonium nitrate which can be used to make bombs. With government officials running the regulatory framework, it wouldn't be hard for terrorist organizations to get their hands on chemicals like ammonium nitrate or other similar chemicals that fly under the government's radar.

Senate investigation finds loopholes and lies in DHS security plans

How do government security programs create this terrorist-support scenario? For one, government regulation frame work creates a system of loopholes. For example, DHS allows exemptions to specific industries, like wastewater treatment plants. Large amounts of toxic chlorine go without inspection in some industries, while others are more closely watched. This allows government regulators to "wink" at certain industries, creating a system of corruption.

Also, the DHS might have strict regulations on a chemical like ammonium nitrate, but there are at least 12 other chemicals like it that can fly under the radar and be seized for explosive manufacture.

Additionally the report found that the DHS relied on outdated data. The system they relied on had several coding errors that treated highly populated areas as lower threats, when in fact, the opposite is true.

The report also exposed DHS falsehoods. DHS said they were committed to approving security plans for the 3,111 chemical facilities by this year, but they failed to do so. The report finds that the entire backlog could take DHS many years to sort through. By the time they catch up, if they ever do, any kind of security they've promised could be thrown out the window.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.mercurynews.com

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