The bulk use and storage of poison gases like chlorine at chemical facilities and wastewater and drinking water plants puts millions of Americans at risk of a Bhopal magnitude chemical disaster. Just 300 of these plants put a third of Americans at risk. But some communities no longer face these risks because they switched to safer chemical processes. For example, Washington, DC converted their waste water treatment plant 90 days after the 9/11 attacks. Before 9/11 their use of chlorine gas put 1.7 million people at risk.
President Obama's Department of Homeland Security and Environmental Protection Agency have consistently asked Congress for the authority to remove these risks by requiring the use of safer chemical processes where feasible. Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress have blocked these efforts. President Obama can implement authority under the Clean Air Act to require companies to design and operate their facilities in a way that prevents the catastrophic release of poison gasses.
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