Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Real Danger: Security Failure at Chemical Plants

New Jersey Works Environmental Council released yesterday a haunting report detailing potential catastrophes in the making. Several chemical facilities in the state could be prime terrorist targets due to their lack of security measures and personnel. The cost in human lives, if even one of these plants was subjected to a terrorist attack, would be in the millions.

Fox Five news and The Record reported that 110 plants use "extraordinarily hazardous" chemicals that, if exposed to the local wind currents, can be carried as across the Tri-State area (NY, NJ, Pa) critically hurting or killing millions.

Many plant directors said they have repeatedly tried to get funding from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to beef up their security departments. According to them, they have met with little or no response from the Federal agency in charge of keeping America safe from potential terrorist attacks.

With a little research on Google, The Latino Edge found that several states in the Union also face similar desperate security situations.

"Internal DHS documents also show that a new DHS web cam program is limited to only 17 facilities in seven states: CA, TX, IN, PA, NJ, IL, MI. This $4.2 million government funded project is indicative of the triage approach the DHS has taken to chemical plant security. These documents show that the new DHS universe of plants ignores many states where the EPA has identified over 100 facilities that put a million or more people at risk. These states include PA, OH, FL, WI, MN, WA, AZ, CO, NV, TN, MD."

This is extremely troubling on many fronts. Here we find ourselves combating a supposed national crisis which is pitching millions of US taxpayer dollars to mobilize against a people who never have been involved in any terrorist activity. Illegal immigrants have in fact contributed to our nation's economy. Most of their activities have been a plus for the US.

Yet our borders to the north, our East and West Coasts and now many chemical plants nationwide remain virtually open to terrorist attack. What about security at our nation's various nuclear plants and fuel repositories? Are they adequate?

These issues and not Latino immigrants should be the focus of our national leaders and the American people. These vulnerabilities can bring America indescribable disaster if left unchecked.

This article is not about politics, folks. It is about common sense and our need to get our national priorities straight. We need to stop acting like political sheep and finally tell our government get their act together. It is what we pay them to do, am I right?

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