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Kerry Amendment Passes as Part of Port Security Package

by Pamela Leavey

The Senate passed Senator John Kerry’s bi-partisan amendment to the Port Security bill (HR 4954) today, that will ensure that seaport personnel, law enforcement and first responders get the security training and support they need in order to be better prepared in the event of an attack.

Kerry’s amendment was accepted unanimously by the Senate. It would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement a Port Security Training Program and Port Security Exercise Program that will prepare ports to prevent and respond to a terrorist attack. The House version of HR 4954 makes these programs mandatory but, the Senate bill leaves it to the discretion of the DHS Secretary to implement them. The Kerry amendment will ensure that they are mandatory and implemented as soon as possible.

Five years after 9/11, we know that we should be doing much more to reinforce our domestic security systems, and we know that training and exercise programs are critical in helping first responders, law enforcement, and seaport personnel deter terrorist attacks at our ports. DHS has failed to create and implement these important programs, and I believe it’s about time we ensure they do.”

Co-sponsors of the amendment include: Senators Lautenberg, Lieberman, Clinton, Akaka, Kennedy, Cantwell, Snowe, Inouye, Smith, Schumer, and Bill Nelson.

One Response to “Kerry Amendment Passes as Part of Port Security Package”

  1. If the Skeleton Man can actually get this set up before his term is up, we will hopefully have someone in there with the determination to enforce it. The port workers might just insist also.

    When my ex left his position as Hazardous Waste Manager for the Alaska Dept of Environmental Conservation in ’83, he had instituted the training, equipment storage and annual exercises for an oil spill at Alyeska. (Where the pipeline ends and the crude goes into the NOW double hulled tankers)

    By 3/89 when the Exxon Valdez was snagged on Bligh reef, the exercize hadn’t been run for several years, not all the employees were trained, and the equipment had been moved and scattered. The ships were 5 years past their due date to have double hulls.

    In case it wasn’t as obvious here, the cleanup was a planning/execution disaster from the start. Just another good example of how well big business does it’s business.

    I have to add. The Alaskan voters just shot down some sweetheart ‘Cheney’ deals that Gov Murkowski made in secret with the energy companies on the crude tax and a natural gas pipeline. They also gave the Gov 11% of the primary vote. I guess Frank will have to start drawing on his retirement pay. (Violins, please)

    Now if they will just retire Don Not Young Anymore.