SOCMA voices disapproval of passage of security IST mandates

Joseph Acker, President and CEO of the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (SOCMA), released a statement in response to the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security's passage of legislation mandating inherently safer technologies (IST) as a tool against terrorism...

WASHINGTON, DC, March 6, 2008 -- Joseph Acker, President and CEO of the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (SOCMA), released the following statement in response to the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security's passage of legislation mandating inherently safer technologies (IST) as a tool against terrorism.

"SOCMA supports making chemical site security standards a permanent and enforceable law under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. We are, however, stridently opposed to the merits of mandating inherently safer technology (IST) under the guise of site security and as a panacea for fighting terrorism, as passed today by the House Committee on Homeland Security," he said.

"As someone who spent over 25 years managing chemical facilities, I can attest to the enormous amount of energy that goes into considering safer technologies prior to a chemical product's research, development and production," he stated. "The chemical industry practices this concept as a normal part of its manufacturing process and invests substantial assets into determining a product's impact on health, safety, and the environment. These steps were never designed to ward off terrorists, however," he continued. "It is therefore inappropriate for Congress to pretend that mandating 'security' IST would provide a security blanket with negligible consequences to one of the largest U.S. manufacturing sectors. In fact, these provisions only advance the political agenda of special interests that want to curtail or eliminate products that sustain us as Americans and improve our daily lives, and that want to decrease the competitiveness of U.S. chemical manufacturing."

Acker concluded, "Contrary to Chairman Thompson's repeated assertion, this bill is not a bipartisan bill. As evidenced by today's vote to remove the bill's IST provisions, the committee voted strictly along party lines, keeping the controversial provisions in place. SOCMA will continue to educate Members of Congress about IST and how it is currently incorporated into the normal manufacturing process as a health, safety, and environment consideration. IST is a research, development, and manufacturing system, not a security one."

SOCMA is the leading trade association serving the specialty-batch and custom chemical industry since 1921.

ChemStewards® is SOCMA's flagship environmental, health, safety and security (EHS&S) continuous performance improvement program.

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