Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Clinton Signs Chemical Disaster Bill into Law

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Clinton Signs Chemical Disaster Bill into Law

Article excerpt

Workers and community members seeking full disclosure of "worst-case" chemical accident information will have to wait for at least a year because of legislation passed by Congress and signed into law in early August by President Clinton.

The chemical industry succeeded in persuading large bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress that "off-site consequences analysis information" posted on the Internet would be an irresistible targeting tool for terrorists and criminals. Labor and environmental groups opposed the law because they believe that full disclosure of chemical hazards is the best way to protect workers and those living near chemical plants.

Tagged with the unwieldy title, "The Chemical Safety Information, Site Security and Fuels Regulatory Relief Act," the new law calls for a one-year moratorium on disclosure of worst-case scenarios. The U.S. attorney general is to use the year to study the threat of terrorists misusing the data before the president promulgates final regulations.

Chemical manufacturing, processing and storage facilities were required to prepare worst-case scenarios for chemical disasters that detailed possible death, injury and destruction of property to workers and residents living near the plants. …

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