If Philip Morris released findings indicating that cigarettes are healthy, would you believe them? How about believing Sean Penn’s analysis of the war in Iraq, or Pamela Anderson’s take on the humane treatment of animals? Of course you wouldn’t! You’d consider the source and walk away. Why, then, do people put stock in anything the Center for American Progress (CAP) has to say regarding chemical security?

CAP, a left-of-center group that lobbies Congress to ban commonly held chemicals, has released findings indicating that security at water utilities housing gaseous chlorine is “inadequate.” They go on to say the lack of security at these utilities puts millions of Americans in continual danger. Wow! What a shocker! It doesn’t exactly sound right to me, but if CAP says it’s so, then it must be true. They would never toss the truth aside like A-Rod did Madonna in order to advance their own political agenda. Thank goodness for integrity.

CAP’s report entitled “Chemical Security 101” lists Metropolitan Water District of Southern California as one of the utilities that endangers the community it serves. Their assessment is interesting given that Metropolitan is a world-class leader in utility security. Aside from having cameras, fences and armed guards, Metropolitan brings their treatment chemicals in via secured rail, uses biometric security controls to safeguard access and has installed enough scrubbers to clean up after my three-year-old! Yet, despite spending tens of millions of dollars on security, CAP still finds Metropolitan’s security to be lacking. Weird, huh?

Yo, John Podesta and P.J. Crowley, take a five-minute break from leading the Obama transition to get your organization back in line. I understand promoting your cause, but if Metropolitan’s security measures aren’t up to snuff, then send the devil a telegram telling him it’s about to snow! I’m not surprised by CAP’s findings – seriously, did you think they were going to say anything to undercut their long held position? – but I am disappointed by their willingness to disregard facts in order to advance their cause.

Enough with the scare tactics and biases. Defend your position, but do it without distorting (or disregarding) the facts. Some utilities can adopt different treatment technologies, others can’t, and all systems should protect whatever it is they choose to use. It ain’t sexy, but it’s the truth. Hopefully that still counts for something.

L. Vance Taylor has worked to advance the mission of homeland security on Capitol Hill and in the private sector. One of only approximately 250 people in the nation with a Master’s degree in Homeland Security, Mr. Taylor combines specialized educational training with real-world experience to leverage successful outcomes for clients and stakeholders. Read More