Compliance required on terror security at chemical firms

October 30, 2002|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

Mayor Martin O'Malley has signed a bill that compels local chemical companies to comply with industry safety standards for preventing terrorism.

In a ceremony Monday at City Hall, O'Malley said the ordinance gives the Fire Department the power to inspect chemical companies' plants and revoke their operating permits if they don't follow safety plans they submit to the city.

Fire Chief William J. Goodwin Jr. said the ordinance should not require the city's approximately 10 chemical companies to take any new steps or incur any additional expense because they have already put in place safeguards to protect themselves from terrorism.

The bill puts into law several safety measures, such as requiring companies to assess their vulnerability to terrorists, that are being practiced by companies that belong to the American Chemistry Council and the Maryland Chemistry and Industrial Technology Alliance.

However, now these practices will be mandatory instead of voluntary. And if any companies that are not members of the American Chemistry Council move into the city, the new law will compel them to follow the standards set by the group.

The safety requirements and plans vary from plant to plant and are created by the industry. Officials declined to outline them for security reasons.

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