Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Obama on the Issues - Homeland Security

Homeland Security

Greater Funding for Chicago

Senator Obama has voted in favor of distributing federal homeland security funds to states and cities most at risk of a terrorist attack. In 2006, Chicago obtained a $52.5 million grant for training and equipping emergency first responders, up 16% from the previous year's $45 million grant.

Chemical Plant Security

Illinois has at least 10 facilities where a large-scale chemical release could threaten more than a million people, and an additional 20 facilities where such a release could threaten more than 100,000 people. Despite this, there are currently no federal standards to require chemical plants to protect against terrorist attacks. While a number of plants have taken important voluntary steps to improve security, there are still major gaps, and there has never been a comprehensive security assessment of chemical plants across the country.

Senator Obama, working with Senator Lautenberg, introduced tough legislation to drastically improve security at our nation's chemical plants. The Chemical Safety and Security Act (S. 2486) would establish a clear set of federal regulations that all plants must follow. Plants that are considered a high risk to large population areas or critical infrastructure would face more stringent standards. The bill requires chemical facilities to take steps to enhance security, including improving barriers, containment, mitigation, and safety training, and, where possible, using safer technology, such as less toxic chemicals or safer procedures.

Transit Security

Senator Obama is deeply concerned about the safety of the millions of Americans who use our nation's public transportation systems everyday. Unfortunately, non-aviation security has been under-funded since the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, and our subways and buses remain vulnerable. Only days after the July 2005 bombings in London, England, Senator Obama cosponsored and voted for an amendment that would have increased rail and transit security by $1.2 billion. Although that amendment was defeated, Senator Obama remains committed to improving rail and transit security.

Disaster Response

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, improving our nation's emergency planning and response capacity has become a priority for Senator Obama. He has introduced legislation to ensure that the mistakes witnessed before and after Katrina are not repeated in the future. Senator Obama's legislation includes provisions to establish a national family locator system for missing persons, a mobile corps of volunteer health professions, and mandatory planning for the emergency evacuation of people with special needs, including low-income individuals, the elderly, and the disabled.

Terrorism Risk Insurance

Senator Obama cosponsored the extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (which became Public Law 109-144). The Act provides important protections to real estate in large cities such as Chicago.

Nuclear Waste

Within the past five years, three nuclear power plants have reported missing spent fuel. Senator Obama introduced the Spent Nuclear Fuel Tracking and Accountability Act (S. 1194), which would establish specific and uniform guidelines for tracking, controlling, and accounting for individual spent fuel rods or segments at nuclear power plants, including procedures for conducting physical inventories. These provisions were included in S. 864, which passed the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on June 8, 2005.

Drinking Water Security

Senator Obama drafted an amendment, which was included in the Safe Drinking Water Act, which passed the EPW Committee on July 20, 2005. The Obama amendment would provide $37.5 million over the next five years to protect the country's drinking water from a terrorist attack. It also instructs Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control to develop the tools needed by drinking water systems to detect and respond to the introduction of biological, chemical, and radiological contaminants by terrorists.

Source: http://obama.senate.gov/issues/

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