Terrorism Awaits: toxic mushroom cloud boom
With the threat of terrorism abound, the Center for American Progress issued a report this month detailing a new solution for the more than 80 million Americans living within a range of chemical facilities that in a worst case scenario situation could cause a huge, toxic, mushroom cloud to rain on the Twin Cities' parade.
Of the 101 most dangerous chemical facilities in the country, Minnesota is home to 3—one in St. Paul Park, one in St. Paul and one in Maplewood, the Center reports.
This threat can be substantially reduced by converting facilities to safer and more secure chemicals or processes...Unfortunately, temporary chemical security standards enacted two years ago (and set to expire in 2009) focus almost entirely on physical security measures, such as adding gates and guards.
“Adopting safer chemicals is the only certain way to protect American communities from a toxic gas release,” said Paul Orum, a chemical safety consultant ... “Site security cannot assure protection against a concerted attack, insider sabotage, or catastrophic release. Replacing hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives removes the danger.”
The report also mentions 202 additional high-hazard facilities that could make similar changes, including four in Minnesota. Each has at least 100,000 people living within what is commonly called a "vulnerability zone."
“Millions of people remain unnecessarily vulnerable to toxic terrorism,” said Reece Rushing, director of regulatory and information policy at the Center for American Progress. “This report shows that substantial safety and security improvements are possible and affordable. The incoming Obama administration and new Congress have an opportunity to take tens of millions of Americans out of harm’s way.”