This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," July 14, 2005, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: What if I told you the next terror attack here in the U.S. could melt your lungs in seconds, and the source could be in your own back yard? I'm talking chemical manufacturing plants (search), they're all over the place in very populated areas. And my next guest is talking the lack of security around them.
Democratic Congressman Ed Markey says there are nightclubs in New York City that are harder to get into than some of these plants. The House Homeland Security member joins me now from Capitol Hill.
Congressman, good to have you.
REP. ED MARKEY, D-MASS., HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Thank you, Neil, thanks for having me on again.
CAVUTO: I didn't realize this problem was so bad, spell it out.
MARKEY: Well, there are 100 chemical facilities in 23 states that could cause, according to the Congressional Research Service, a million deaths or injuries in a worst case scenario.
There are hundreds of other chemical facilities that would cause less damage but perhaps only 500,000, 100,000, 50,000, 10,000 injuries or deaths. But it's serious. There is no, right now, federal standard for security around chemical facilities, no whistleblower protections, no federal funding in any meaningful way.
And so it's wide open and it's very dangerous because many of these facilities are in densely populated urban areas that would be highly attractive Al Qaeda (search) targets.
CAVUTO: What would you propose doing?
MARKEY: I would propose that the federal government mandate that every chemical facility in the United States prepare a plan to protect against an Al Qaeda or terrorist attack. That that plan be tested so that we're sure that it could withstand a kind of force that might come at that plant. That we have whistleblower protection so that if there are guards at the facility that want to say that the security is not adequate. That they not be fired. And that we have a new standard where the chemical industry has to move to less dangerous chemicals if that would get the job done in it's…
CAVUTO: Well, Congressman, I'm sorry to jump on you…
MARKEY: Oh sure, no problem.
CAVUTO: … but what are the states that are particularly vulnerable?
MARKEY: Well, again, every state is vulnerable. There is no federal standard at this point that really does guarantee that there is security. And so we're in a kind of a regulatory black hole.
The Bush administration doesn't want to spend any money on chemical security, and yet it doesn't want to mandate that the chemical industry has to provide the security themselves. So left in these communities are chemical plants that don't have any real security.
CAVUTO: So your biggest fear is that an Al Qaeda group or sympathetic group comes in, seizes one of these plants, and does all hell, right?
MARKEY: We know from the documents that have been captured in Afghanistan and all around the world that Al Qaeda is looking to have the maximum impact. It's a nuclear power plant. It's a chemical plant. It's a subway. It's an airline. We know that.
And so we had better protect against it because they're looking for the maximum psychological impact on our country, on our economy. And we know that those chemical facilities, whether they're in New Jersey, New York, Boston or any other urban area, are so close to the urban area, it would be devastating.
CAVUTO: All right. Congressman, thank you very much, appreciate it.
MARKEY: Thank you.
CAVUTO: Ed Markey on Capitol Hill.
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