Why the switch from voluntary to mandatory measures? ACC wants a level playing field for all chemical companies. The Department of Homeland Security estimates 20 percent of high-risk chemical facilities have not stepped up security actions.
Plus, ACC companies do not want to contend with a patchwork quilt of state chemical facility security laws. In the absence of Congressional action on chemical security, state legislatures are beginning to fill the vacuum. A similar trend more than 20 years ago led the chemical industry to support OSHA's hazard communication standard over state right-to-know laws.
"Our efforts alone are not enough; we represent a minority of the facilities engaged in the chemistry business," wrote Jack N. Gerard, president and chief executive of the ACC, in USA Today.
"We know it is rare to hear an industry asking for more government oversight. But make no mistake: We have acted voluntarily, and we also are calling loudly for new legislation granting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authority over chemical industry security," said Gerard.
ACC is on record with Congress with these recommendations for federal rules: