Former N.J. governor Whitman urges EPA to step up safeguards against chemical attack

Former New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman is urging the federal government to require the chemical industry to do more to safeguard against potential terrorist attacks.

Whitman wants the Environmental Protection Agency, which she once headed, to force facilities handling dangerous chemicals to improve security and reduce hazards.

“People’s lives are at stake, and it doesn’t have to be a grand al-Qaida plot,” said Whitman. “We’ve already seen in the last few year we have home-grown nut cases that can do these kind of things, and these facilities are enormously vulnerable.”

The New Jersey Chemistry Council says more regulations are not needed. Existing programs already regulate hazards, said executive director Hal Bozarth. He says chemical companies in the Garden State have spent more than a billion dollars to strengthen their facilities from terrorist attacks.

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