It is certainly not every day a republican former Governor of New Jersey and Administrator of the EPA, labor unions, environmental justice advocates, environmentalists, and first responders stand together with the same solution to a national problem. In a national press conference today Greenpeace joined other representatives of this coalition and Governor Christine Todd Whitman to call on the Obama Administration to use existing Clean Air Act authority to protect communities from chemical disasters.
Ten years ago the US was scrambling to secure vulnerabilities following the attacks of 9/11. The Environmental Protection Agency was tasked with securing the nation’s chemical facilities. Under Governor Whitman’s leadership they designed a program that would remove potential terrorist targets by eliminating the potential for disaster altogether.
The good news is that the EPA still possesses the authority to create such a program, and in the face of cement-footed Congress, it’s time Obama fulfilled a campaign pledge and implemented a program that will prioritize community safety and security instead of industry’s desire to keep playing their game of disaster roulette. As Governor Whitman stated today “we cannot continue to let politics trump policy, we have got to draw the line at some point…people’s lives are at stake.”