A U.S. Senate panel has approved legislation that would give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the authority to require chemical makers to bolster security against potential terrorist attacks.
The measure would affect 15,000 facilities across the U.S. that make and use chemicals, including Dow Chemical Co.and DuPont Co.
The vote is the first time lawmakers have legislated to regulate security at chemical plants since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
Although Dow, DuPont and others companies have taken steps to secure plants, the government is unable to determine the extent of preparations for attacks that might threaten millions of people downwind of a toxic-gas release.
The measure was amended to bar the public from learning which plants are failing the new security standard.
According to The American Chemistry Council, 130 of its members have spent approximately $3 billion to protect against truck bombs, strengthen computer networks and upgrade security since the Sept. 11 attacks.