Washington, D.C., October 10, 2001—As Congress holds hearings on the security of our nation’s infrastructure, the Competitive Enterprise Institute warns that certain federal regulations may impede that goal. In particular, “right to know” laws that are supposed to keep citizens informed about the risks of chemical plants actually promise to do more harm than good.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Amendments to the 1990 Clean Air Act required thousands of industrial facilities to file “risk management plans” with the EPA and for the information to be made available to the public. The plans also include the potential impacts of a catastrophic accidental chemical release. Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, the Environmental Protection Agency has removed documents from its website that detail the risks of chemical facilities, but the Competitive Enterprise Institute is calling for a permanent removal of the information—on the EPA’s web page and in other places where the information is also available, including at least 50 “reading rooms” around the country.
“Since the events of September 11, we believe the case is even stronger to repeal the ‘right to know’ law,” said Angela Logomasini, director of risk and environmental policy at CEI. “This information is only useful to groups that want to scare the public about chemical risks, or those who might use it for selecting targets. Instead of making this kind of information available to the public, we believe a better and more secure approach would be for chemical plants to hear concerns from the community and engage in an exchange of information through public meetings, plant tours, etc. This would help communities not only learn what the likely risks are but also how to respond in an emergency.”
CEI Analysts Available For Interviews:
Angela Logomasini, Director of Risk & Environmental Policy
Jennifer Zambone, Policy Analyst
CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information about CEI, please visit our website at www.cei.org.