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Flip-flops Against Chemical Security – Really GreenPeace?

At a time when “compromise” and “civility” are the new black, GreenPeace wasted little time showing off its true colors last Friday when the group’s legislative director, Rick Hind, decided to protest during a House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on chemical security. Waving flip-flops over his head, Rick managed to interrupt the hearing, tick off the Chairman and wag the proverbial middle finger to the water sector. Talk about classy!

It’s not that I’m upset about what happened so much as I’m a little confused. GreenPeace claims they want utilities to increase security by switching away from gaseous chlorine and adopting so-called Inherently Safer Technologies (ISTs). However, DC WASA did switch. They did exactly as GreenPeace wanted, and they still got the flip-flop treatment! A simple “thank you” would have sufficed.

The fact is, GreenPeace is less concerned about chemical security than they are about just banning chlorine. They don’t understand risk reduction, have no true sense of security enhancement and seem completely unmoved by contrary facts. Utilities evaluate their treatment options and proceed in the manner that best suits the public health of the communities they serve. Sometimes that means adopting an IST, sometimes it means sticking with gaseous chlorine – either way it is, and always should be, a local decision.

Rick, have fun navigating your hypocritical Titanic-like chemical security-related demands this year. I think you’ll find the water in this new Congress to be cold and full of icebergs. Hope you brought a life jacket; you’ll need more than flip-flops to keep you afloat.

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