Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chemical security report released

The Center for American Progress has released Chemical Security 101: What You Don’t Have Can’t Leak, or Be Blown Up by Terrorists. Whatever the awkwardness of the title, the report is excellent, identifying the 100+ most hazardous chemical facilities in the U.S. and listing specific actions they could take to change their operations to eliminate the hazard, rather than treating the problem as one for gates and guards. I'm familiar with the report because I spent a significant amount of time crunching numbers for part of it.

If and when I get through global warming databases on this blog, I'll write about chemical accident ones. The database used for this report, the Risk Management Plan database, has a particularly interesting history. The chemical industry and the Bush administration crippled what was supposed to be a publicly accessible database by restricting access to it to reading rooms where you could only get information on ten facilities at a time. Otherwise, they said, terrorists would use the data for targeting, even though all the actual incidents so far have been straightforward industrial accidents. And then they proceeded to block one law after another that would have required industry to actually do anything to protect people from these hazards. Computer people like to talk about Security Through Obscurity -- well, this was year after year of Security Theater For Obscurity.

No comments:

Post a Comment