WASHINGTON, February 17, 1999 In light of the FBIs warning that
posting chemical facility data on the Internet would be a blueprint
for terrorist attacks, Rep. Thomas Bliley (R-VA) is considering
legislation that would limit the US Environmental Protection Agencys
ability to do just that. The bill would limit the posting of certain
publicly-available government information on the Internet, which would
include chemical emergency incident information.
Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is collecting information on "worst case
scenario" chemical accidents from chemical plants around the country.
The agency is required to make the information available to the
public, and it originally intended to put the information on its web
site. However, after US intelligence agencies protested this plan as
providing too much sensitive information to terrorists (see FBI
Wants EPA to Take Chemical Data off the Internet), the agency backed
down from the plan.
Environmental groups, however, have said that the information must be
published on the Internet to be effective. Bliley is concerned that
they will obtain the information and post it on the Internet
A hearing was held on the matter on Wednesday by the House Commerce
Committee, which Rep. Bliley chairs. Representatives from Internet
advocacy groups have come out against this type of legislation, saying
that it could limit public access to government information.
Source: New York Times/EPA
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