HR 1790 Chemical Safety
Info/Site Security Act -
Congress To Abdicate?
By Jim Rarey
Congress Set to Abdicate
In the guise of fighting terrorism, the Congress is rushing through legislation that would delegate to the executive branch unprecedented (and unconstitutional) powers.
On Wednesday, May 19th at a hearing by the House Commerce Health and Environmental Sub-committee, legislation drafted by the administration was discussed. The bill deals with hazardous materials and both accidental catastrophic spills and those caused by terrorism. The bill has been introduced by Republican (!) Representative Thomas Bliley of Virginia. The Republican leadership has scheduled the legislation to be cleared through the House and Senate for the president's signature by June 21st.
Among other things, the legislation would:
1.. Preempt (strike down) all state and local laws on availability of government records to the public.
2.. Preempt all state and local Freedom of Information Acts (FOIA'S)
3.. Give the executive branch the authority to decide which requests for information from the federal government it would honor.
4.. Give the executive branch the authority to issue 'guidelines' as well as criminal penalties for violation of those 'guidelines'.
5.. Prohibit the public from obtaining (in either written or electronic form) information about 'offsite consequences' of accidental catastrophic chemical incidents as well as those that might be caused by terrorists.
6.. Allow the executive branch to establish (by executive order) criminal penalties for any state or local official who allows such information to reach the public in printed or electronic form. 7.. Prohibits even federal officials from making such information available on the internet.
Additionally, Congress has given the authority to the president to write 'privacy' laws if congress does not come up with acceptable legislation by August of this year. The president mentioned this in his public speech about his 'privacy' agenda. My congressional representative verified that congress had indeed given him that authority. Her staff is in the process of hunting down the specific legislation that granted that unconstitutional power.
Undoubtedly this same tactic is being used by the administration in other areas of proposed legislation. We must mount a massive protest to the congress to stop this dangerous and unconstitutional delegation of power to the executive branch.
Please forward this piece to every E-mail address you have. Then write your representative in congress and both of your senators expressing your outrage that they would even consider such actions. This is not a partisan issue. Both Republicans and Democrats on the sub-committee expressed 'reservations' about some of the provisions. However the Republican leadership seems determined to rush the bill through the House and Senate.
If we lose this one, then congress has become irrelevant! Permission is granted to reproduce in its entirety or call Jim Rarey at (734) 942-7667