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Former Bush EPA chief Whitman sounds alarm on chemical security

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Wading into a decade-old controversy, former Environmental Protection Agency chief Christine Todd Whitman has urged current EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to close loopholes in a 2006 chemical security law "before a tragedy of historic proportions occurs."

Whitman, who led the EPA under George W. Bush, suggests the agency use its authority to seal gaps in Department of Homeland Security rules adopted in 2007, according to her April 3 letter to Jackson, obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.

Those rules are "extremely limited," Whitman wrote, barring DHS from requiring industry to take specific measures to prevent accidental or terrorism-related toxic releases. The rules, she wrote, exempt "thousands of chemical facilities, including all water treatment plants and hundreds of other potentially high-risk facilities, such as refineries located on navigable waters."

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