Wednesday, April 27, 2005

EPA says chemical plants vulnerable to terror attack

This is news?

Terror experts (and average blokes like me) have been saying this since 9/11, but Bush refuses to create remedial security regulations for a chemical industry that refuses to regulate itself.

Par for the course for Bush. Unlike foreign wars, homeland security was never a priority for his administration. Voters don't seem to care, and probably won't until people die due to an attack or some industrial accident.

Here's my prediction. Bush will suddenly show a "change of heart" and propose that you and I pay for what the chemical industry should have been doing all along. Yes, a special government welfare program, a gift to the chemical industry for not killing us. Industry regulation bad, government gifts to industry good.

It will be just like Bush's energy plan: another corrupt and immature scheme from your friendly uncompassionate conservatives.

At a time when oil companies are making record profits, the federal government does not need to subsidize the construction of new refineries," David Hamilton, director of the Sierra Club's global warming program, said in a statement. "The current lack of refinery capacity is the result of a conscious decision by the oil industry in the 1990s to limit the supply to increase profits."

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very similar thing to all the tax money going to the airline industry for safety. IOW, EVERYONE pays for airline safety even though many rarely or never use the airlines for travel. Why can't each ticketholder pay their share of the increased cost of the ost 9/11 safety? For the same reason(s) mentioned in your chemical article.

JL

Doctor Logic said...

There's something to be said for the government making a life better for all of us.

Should local governments pay for traffic signals, or should they just legislate rules that force drivers to pay for them? If few people decide to pay (use), should ambulances and police cars be exempt from the road use tax? How about Pizza delivery? Should local shops pay their customer's traffic tolls, lest the customers shop elsewhere?

It seems to me that it's rarely practical to impose use taxes on public thoroughfares.

In the case of the airlines, I think it is appropriate for government to spend some money to keep the infrastructure safe. I'm not against passing on some of that cost to flying passengers. However, government assistance to the struggling airline industry is something a majority of Americans benefit from (in the form of having the opportunity travel by air).

So why doesn't my argument apply to the chemical plants? First, the chemical industry can easily afford to meet security and environmental regulations without government aid. Second, even with enhanced security, chemical plants pose a danger to nearby communities. I think this danger should be reflected in the price of their commodities.