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It’s hard to understand why Congress has let this vulnerability persist for so long, but it’s easy to grasp the current snag. James Inhofe, R-Okla., has derailed new security legislation for the twin purposes of helping corporate friends and skewering environmental foes. Susan Collins, and it’s pretty simple: The Department of Homeland Security would be given authority to set and enforce security standards at chemical facilities, with plant operators given considerable flexibility to choose their own solutions.At her insistence, the bill was stripped of a requirement that some facilities shift to less noxious chemicals — for example, replacing chlorine gas with liquid bleach or ultraviolet light for drinking-water treatment.Perhaps the gap between the two bills really is too wide for a compromise.But by holding out from negotiations, the House Republican leadership isn’t even bothering to try to find out.Such shifts make up a growing trend known as “inherently safer technology,” or IST, and they’re gaining favor for reasons beyond anti-terror security — workplace safety, cost savings and community relations among them.This spring, the Center for American Progress found that more than 200 chemical facilities (including five in the Twin Cities) had voluntarily adopted IST.The Democratic staff of the House Homeland Security Committee released a report today entitled “To Secure America: The 9/11 Commissionâ€™s Homeland Security Recommendations” which attempts to measure the government’s progress toward implementing the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations.
After that time, those seeking to continue in the United States could apply for a visa that would allow them to say for another five years before they could apply for permanent status.
I’ve read through the full proposal, and my initial reaction is that it’s an idea that sounds OK in theory…but the more you think about, the more unworkable it would be in practice, requiring the creation of a massive new bureaucracy to administer.
For example: What happens to illegal immigrants who don’t leave the country to enroll?
And in some big cities, according to the Surgeon General, the toll could be twice that high.
Plenty of opportunities to enhance Americans’ security have been missed since 9/11 supposedly changed everything.