Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Menendez expresses concern about regulation laws

Afshin Mohamadi (Menendez) 202-224-4744

New Jersey, other states with strong regulations could be preempted, hamstrung from taking future action

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today released long-anticipated chemical security regulations, which again raised the possibility that the federal government might preempt states’ strong regulations and curb states’ ability to implement tough regulations in the future. Though DHS sought to clarify preemption provisions from its original proposal, the regulations released today are nearly identical on the preemption issue.

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who has been a lead sponsor of legislation to tighten chemical plant security, said today that DHS has yet to go far enough to protect the citizens of New Jersey and other states with heavy chemical plant presences.

“These regulations seem to leave the door open for the federal government to disregard strong state security laws, now and in the future,” said Menendez. “The Department continues to crawl toward the goal of stronger security, while many of the states know that we should be running toward it.

“As the threat evolves and new ideas emerge, states that want to improve security should not have their hands tied by the federal government. The people of New Jersey want the peace of mind that comes with knowing our chemical security laws are among the strongest.”

Menendez was an original sponsor of the Chemical Security and Safety Act (S. 2486), which was introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in the 109th Congress. Menendez also joined Lautenberg to include language in last week’s Supplemental Appropriations bill that would prohibit the pre-emption of state chemical security regulations.

DHS chemical security regulations (state preemption section begins on p. 215): http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/IP_ChemicalFacilitySecurity.pdf

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Afshin Mohamadi
Press Secretary
Senator Robert Menendez

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