Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

November 15, 2006

“Animal enterprise terror” threats vs. chemical plant security

Filed under: Congress and HLS,Infrastructure Protection — by Christian Beckner on November 15, 2006

On Monday, the House passed S. 3880, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act by unanimous consent, clearing the way for it to potentially be signed into law by the President. The Act “provide[s] the Department of Justice the necessary authority to apprehend, prosecute, and convict individuals committing animal enterprise terrorism.”

Normally this is the kind of bill that I would ignore on the blog, given the fact that it’s essentially trivial in nature, giving the DOJ new narrow authorities that it already essentially had based on the discretionary application of broader authorities. I don’t disagree with its contents; I just think it doesn’t matter all that much.

But when I came across the bill today, I couldn’t ignore it, after noting that the chief Senate sponsor is Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma. Inhofe is probably the person most responsible for blocking the passage of comprehensive chemical plant security legislation this year, motivated as much by jurisdictional pique as any substantive disagreements with the bipartisan legislation put forward by Sen. Collins and Sen. Lieberman.

Given this history, he has a lot of nerve to put forward a bill like this. With the “Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act”, Sen. Inhofe is addressing a minor issue as if it’s a major threat, while at the same time leading efforts to block legislation that would remedy the greatest vulnerability in our domestic infrastructure today – legislation that is needed to improve the security of millions of Americans.

This is shameful. When it comes to homeland security, his priorities have been woefully misplaced, and I’m glad he’s surrendering the gavel at EPW at the end of the 109th Congress.

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