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E-M:/ Chemical Plant Accidents

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

This news release mentions Michigan's Dow Chemical Company as being
second in the number of chemical industry accidents

April 8th, 
2004                                                            Meghan 
Purvis, 546-9707

New Report Finds Chemical Industry Facilities Have Had More than 25,000 
Chemical Accidents Since 1990, Despite Industry-Touted Safety Measures

Washington, DC --Chemical facilities owned by companies enrolled in an 
industry-sponsored voluntary safety program have had more than 1,800 
accidents per year since 1990, according to a new report released today by 
the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

The U.S. PIRG report, Irresponsible Care: How the Chemical Industry Fails 
to Protect the Public From Chemical Accidents, analyzes the history of 
accidents at the facilities that implement Responsible Care®, a voluntary 
security code subscribed to by companies that are members of the American 
Chemistry Council, the largest industry lobbying organization and loudest 
opponent of mandatory safety standards.  The report criticizes Bush 
Administration plans to address safety and security at chemical facilities 
by industry self-regulation.

³The chemical industry¹s so-called Responsible Care plan lets the fox guard 
the chicken coop,² said Meghan Purvis ³The Bush Administration¹s inaction 
is a clear example of looking for security threats in the wrong places.²

U.S. PIRG analyzed accident data compiled by the National Response Center, 
the sole national point of contact for reporting oil and chemical 
discharges into the environment in the United States, from 1990 through 
2003.  U.S. PIRG looked specifically at ACC member companies, who are 
required to adopt the Responsible Care® guidelines as a condition of their 
membership in the trade association.

³The safety record of ACC member companies since the inception of 
Responsible Care® shows that voluntary measures do not work,² added David 
LeGrande, health and safety expert with the Communications Workers of 
America.  ³To protect both workers and the public, safety measures must be 

Among the key findings in the report:
    * Facilities across the country that are owned by ACC member companies 
have had 25,188 accidents since 1990, two years after the voluntary 
security measures were put in place.
    * BP, Dow, and DuPont ranked first through third, respectively, for the 
most accidents at their facilities since 1990.  Facilities owned by these 
companies had nearly one third of the accidents at ACC member companies 
since 1990.
·       There were at least 500 accidents at ACC member facilities since 
1990 in the following states: Texas, Louisiana, Alaska, Ohio, South 
Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, New York, 
Indiana and New Jersey.
    * Between 1990 and 2003, there has been no downward trend in the number 
of accidents at facilities that have implemented Responsible Care®.
U.S. PIRG criticized ACC¹s voluntary code because it ignores the best 
option for chemical safety and security - substituting safer chemicals and 
processes wherever possible, thereby eliminating the possibility of serious 
consequences from an accident.  Citing numerous high profile security 
breaches at chemical plants, the group also criticized the single-minded 
focus on perimeter security since September 11th shifted security concerns 
to preventing a terrorist attack at chemical facilities.

³It is unacceptable that chemical facilities continue to threaten so many 
lives across the country,² said Meghan Purvis. ³A comprehensive approach to 
security that substitutes safer technologies is imperative because fences 
and guards alone are not enough to protect the public.²

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified more than 120 
chemical facilities that each put more than one million people at risk of 
injury or death because of the hazardous chemicals they use and store 
onsite.  No federal government regulation requires industries to consider 
implementing inherently safer technology.

U.S. PIRG urged the Bush Administration to use EPA¹s existing authority 
under the Clean Air Act to mandate that chemical facilities substitute 
safer chemicals and processes where possible.  Barring such action from the 
Bush Administration, U.S. PIRG urged Congress to pass legislation 
introduced earlier this year by Senator Corzine (NJ) and similar 
legislation by Congressman Pallone (NJ) that would require facilities to 
consider changing their chemicals and processes where available.

---30 ­ 30 ­ 30---

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

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