03/16/07 in Government Initiatives News

March 16, 2007

TRENTON- Governor Jon S. Corzine today announced a new proposal to more than double the number of facilities required to conduct reviews for Inherently Safer Technology as part of a proposal to increase chemical security throughout the state.

 “We have a solemn responsibility to protect the people of the state,” said Governor Corzine. “As governor, I will continue to go to whatever lengths necessary to do just that.”

Inherently Safer Technology reviews ensure that companies identify how they can reduce the potentially hazardous materials they use; substitute safer materials; use the least dangerous process condition or form; or use equipment and processes that reduce danger to public safety and to the environment.

"Protecting the state's critical infrastructure is one of my office's central responsibilities," said Richard L. Cañas, Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.  "Today's initiative extends our efforts in working with the private sector to minimize vulnerabilities and the potential consequences of a terrorist attack or other disaster."

Standards adopted by New Jersey's Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force currently apply to 42 chemical manufacturers. With the newly proposed Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act (TCPA) regulations, the number will be expanded to 94 facilities and will include petroleum refineries, water suppliers, major food distributors, wastewater treatment plants, pesticide and agricultural manufacturers, and other facilities covered by the TCPA.

"We have found that the technology reviews are not overly burdensome and have resulted in many facilities developing risk reduction measures that will not only make them safer in the event of terrorism, but will lead to safer day-to-day operations,'' said Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson. "It makes perfect sense to expand the types of facilities that are covered to provide the greatest protection possible to New Jersey's citizens.”

In addition, Commissioner Jackson issued an Administrative Order this week to ensure that workers and union representatives are able to participate in DEP inspections of both TCPA and Discharge Prevention Containment and Control program facilities. These efforts will provide yet another mechanism for workers and union representatives to point out potential hazards and vulnerabilities to both management and government representatives.

“We commend Governor Corzine for his continuing leadership,” said Director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council, Rick Engler. “These policies are positive steps to ensure safety and security for New Jersey’s workers, communities, and the environment.”

The Department of Environmental Protection will also work with the chemical sector to establish and expand Health, Safety and Security Committees to help institutionalize a focus on worker training and participation to ensure strong working partnerships between managers and workers.