For Immediate Release
Media Officer, Greenpeace, (202)-680-3798,
Rick Hind, Greenpeace Legislative Director,
(202) 413-8513 (on site)
Dupont Facilities Fail Greenpeace Security Inspection
WASHINGTON - Following citizen inspections conducted by land, air and water today, Greenpeace issued a ‘failed inspection’ report to DuPont
for failing to fully secure two of its chemical facilities in Delaware
and New Jersey against terrorists or catastrophic accidents. DuPont’s Delaware and New Jersey plants each put 660,000 and 2,000,000 people at risk in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey respectively.
Greenpeace’s 135-foot thermal airship marked with a banner reading
“Real Chemical Security Now”; the second from Greenpeace boats
patrolling the Delaware River adjacent to the facilities, and
concluding on land with an in-person delivery of the inspection
“We know DuPont can convert their plants. They simply lack the will do
so,” said Greenpeace Legislative Director Rick Hind. “As recent
disasters in the petrochemical industry show, we cannot rely on the
industry to regulate itself.”
In June 2007, former DuPont CEO Charles O. Holliday commented on security saying, "I
feel very comfortable that we've taken all the reasonable steps, but
obviously if someone wants to fly an airplane into a plant, it's very
hard to guard against it."
Although the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to inspect
‘high risk’ chemical plants, they will only inspect 3 percent of the
5,333 “high risk” plants by the end of 2010. Under a temporary law, the
DHS also has no authority to require the use of safer chemical
processes that would eliminate catastrophic poison gas risks at a
"Putting up fences and cameras won’t protect workers and communities.
Even a no-fly zone will only deter law-abiding pilots,” said Hind. “The
only foolproof way to safeguard communities from these plants is to use
safer common sense chemical processes that eliminate the possibility of
a catastrophic accident. Making plants safer also makes them less
attractive terrorist targets. In 2009, Clorox announced that they would
convert all of their U.S. plants to eliminate these risks. If Clorox
can do it, why won’t DuPont?”
Nearly 9 years after the attacks of 9/11, the nation’s chemical plants
remain vulnerable to terrorist attack. Chemical plant risk zones
frequently extend up to 20 miles downwind into densely populated areas
due to the bulk storage or use of poison gases such as chlorine. More
than 100 million Americans are put at risk by just 300 of the nation’s
“high risk” chemical plants. In 2004, the Homeland Security Council
estimated that an attack on a chemical facility would kill 17,500
people, seriously injure 10,000, and send an additional 100,000 people
to the hospital.
Since 1999, more than 500 plants have switched to safer and more secure
chemicals or processes nationwide, eliminating risks to 40 million
Americans. Fifteen chemical facilities in DE, PA and NJ use safer
processes eliminating risks to over 14 million people. Greenpeace also
issued ‘passed’ inspection reports to the Wilmington Water Pollution
Control facility and the Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant in
Philadelphia; both facilities have eliminated these risks.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill (HR 2868) on Nov. 6,
2009 that would require the highest risk plants to convert to safer
processes where commercially feasible. This bill now moves to the
Senate. Four area Senators sit on two key committees that will take up
this legislation in June; they are Senators Carper (D-DE); Kaufman
(D-DE); Specter (D-PA) and Lautenberg (D-NJ).
In a letter to DuPont CEO Charles O. Holliday in March of 2009,
Greenpeace suggested that the company switch to less hazardous
processes and support legislation to eliminate these risks as the
railroad industry has. In November of 2009, Clorox announced that it
would convert all of its factories using chlorine gas to safer chemical
processes, thereby eliminating catastrophic risks to 13.6 million
Terrorism experts from agencies such as DHS, the EPA, and the
Government Accountability Office have documented the nation's
vulnerability to toxic releases at U.S. chemical plants and the need to
require safer processes. An accident could result in a deadly release
similar to that experienced in Bhopal, India in 1984, when a gas leak
at a pesticide plant killed 8,000 within three days.
This was the first flight of Greenpeace’s thermal airship in the United States.
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