Gov. Whitman, Retired Generals Call on EPA to Protect Against Chemical Plant Disasters

Today, former EPA administrator and New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, retired generals Russel Honoré and Randy Manner, former EPA official Robert Bostock, and David Halperin, submitted a comment to the Environmental Protection Agency urging it to strengthen rules to make U.S. chemical plants less vulnerable to potentially catastrophic explosions and toxic releases.

Christine Todd Whitman
Former EPA Administrator & New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman

The authors begin: “We believe the requirements of U.S. national security make it urgent that EPA move to issue new, strong Risk Management Plan (RMP) rules that adequately protect the American people against chemical plant explosions. Millions of Americans, particularly low-income people and people of color, live near hazardous chemical facilities. Accidents, storms that have been intensified by climate change, and deliberate attacks, including terrorism and cyber attacks, all pose risks of chemical explosions that could cause widespread destruction and death. 

“EPA should restore and build on its 2017 rule, including by:
  • requiring all RMP facilities to assess safer alternatives to existing chemical processes;
     
  • requiring all these facilities to share their safer technology analyses with communities and emergency responders; and,
     
  • starting with the highest risk facilities, requiring chemical facilities to substitute safer alternatives to their processes, wherever feasible, that will eliminate or significantly reduce the consequences of a catastrophic release.”

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