What If You Had a Chemical Plant in Your backyard?(LETTERS)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 16, 2002 | Go to article overview

What If You Had a Chemical Plant in Your backyard?(LETTERS)


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Angela Logomasini ("Toxic road map for terrorists," Op-Ed, Sept. 4) advocates eliminating public access to risk-management plans (RMPs) because it is possible the information could be misused. Perhaps she would agree with some in industry who propose that the government no longer collect RMPs because the information may fall into the wrong hands.

Many would consider such proposals extreme and likely to result in increased risk to the public's health and well-being. After all, RMPs provide information about chemical dangers in the community as a means to increase security and safety for residents.

The principles of open government and the people's right to know are cornerstones upon which our country was built. We should not hastily sacrifice these freedoms in the name of protecting them.

It is true that we already have laws to restrict disclosure of information on national security, law enforcement investigations and trade secrets, but the RMPs don't fit into any of those categories. So Ms. Logomasini would prefer a blanket secrecy approach, simply trusting companies to "do the right thing" in protecting the workers and communities. This approach gave us Love Canal, Bhopal, acid rain and thousands of hazardous waste sites across the country. With recent corporate scandals, it seems incredibly naive to remove an important check to ensuring that companies adequately inform and protect communities. …

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