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Montana-CHEER's Letter to EPA about Worst
Case Scenarios and Proposed New Rule

Return to main RMP proposed rule page and send your own comment.

[email protected]
Attn: Docket No. A-2000-20

Dear OA&R:

Montana-CHEER is a citizen group dedicated to pollution prevention (P2); we have tracked the Risk Management Planning (RMP) rule since it was first proposed in '93. That first version, with its innovative industrial safety/P2 elements, would have done more to assure safety than this rule would, but even the finalized RMP rule and its Right-to-Know (RtK) elements would be better for public safety than this proposal That is, not only has the RtK been proved in many studies to reduce hazardous chemical use and to improve chemical safety; but allowing the RtK to flourish in the RMP Program will reduce the threat of chemical facility terrorism. This is because safety improvements (e.g., those resulting from the public pressure that the RtK's disclosure of information provides) eliminate, or make less easy to release, the hazardous chemical/weapon.

Despite this, in a display of mass stupidity, DoJ and EPA have abandoned logic to follow the mass hysteria of the era, terrorism (grafted to cynical federal pork appropriations). This is not to say the world does not face a growing threat of terrorism. But anyone involved in a nuclear family has to acknowledge that crack-downs and secrecy inevitably incite children and adolescents to challenge . Moreover, part of maturity and just basic awareness is knowing that the world is not controllable--persons determined to execute a chemical terrorism act will surely find a place and a manner to do it. Far better to think through this conundrum and act accordingly. This is why we call this proposed rule and its law hysteria. Better to plan and act in an integrated fashion than to focus this hysteria on a narrow RtK program (accident scenarios posted to the Internet).

The Center for Non-Proliferation Studies definitively analyzed (Tucker & Sands 'An Unlikely Threat' _Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists_ 7-8/'99, p. 46-52) the recent ('90-'99) record of chemical & biological weapons (CBW) terrorism incidents. Only 27% of the incidents involved actual use of CBW. 17% of all incidents occurred in the USA, with only one fatality--a cyanide bullet assassinating a local California official. Of the 784 CBW terrorism injuries identified here, 751 were from salmonella-poisoned food on an election day (vote fraud). The authors' main conclusion was that technical constraints, especially in delivery mechanisms, make an incident of tens-to-hundreds of fatalities the most likely SEVERE CBW terrorism scenario. This surely de-emphasizes the perceived threat of chemical terrorism that politicians and you are giving to the large heavy industrial facilities in the RMP Program! Meanwhile, some 250 Americans are slaughtered every year in chemical accidents that only the RtK could rapidly reduce. Where are your priorities, man?

Surely an issue as important to the welfare of the country as chemical terrorism deserves an estimate of how many lives the EPA and DoJ expect to save by keeping RMP accident scenarios off the Internet, and of the lives saved through full disclosure (including disclosing the assumptions in your estimates)? As EPA & DoJ are mandated to protect citizens from potential hazards, shouldn't they begin the rule-making process by making such a comparative estimate!?

We suspect it may be DoJ's culture of domination and police power that led to the proposed tracking system for people who request public information, regardless of the privacy rights of the U.S. Constitution (which in Montana's Constitution, the best of the land, are much stronger--it also guarantees our access to all other records). There is no reason EPA has to acquiesce to such a fascist proposal, which is anti ethical to an important part of EPA's culture.

Finally, EPA would seem to be unaware of the critical bad precedent this proposed rule sets. This law would seem to give EPA and DoJ far more latitude to come up with a rule that actually addresses chemical terrorism, and which acknowledges the power of the RtK to reduce hazards and prevent pollution.

Tony Tweedale, MT-CHEER
(Coalition for Health, Env. & Economic Rights)
224 E. Pine (2)
Missoula MT 59802-4541
tel (and fax, but must call me first): 406-542-1709 [email protected]

Return to main RMP proposed rule page and send your own comment.

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