This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," July 15, 2005, that was edited for clarity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ED MARKEY, D-MASS., HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: 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 (search) that don't have any real security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, the melting chemical terror attack sounds scary, but Democratic Congressman Ed Markey on this show Thursday says he has warned and blamed the White House for doing nothing about a very real threat. Now for equal time, the other side, from the nation's capital, Republican Congressman Dan Lungren of California and the House Homeland Security Committee.
Congressman, you don't buy this, why not?
REP. DAN LUNGREN, R-CALIF., HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: No, I don't buy it because you have to see what the administration has done. Since the terrible effects of 9/11, the events of 9/11, the administration has engaged in a very vigorous effort. Has enough been done? I would say no, because we're never going to have enough done. But let's look at what they have done.
They immediately, after the beginning of the Department of Homeland Security (search), sent people around the country to identify risk-assessed evaluations of the most critical sites in the nation, including those in the chemical industry. Since that time we should understand that the private sector has spent nearly $2 billion in the chemical industry to upgrade their security, both in terms of facilities, in terms of protection of their plants, in terms of their products and so forth.
Additionally, the administration has completed a survey of the 300 highest risk sites for a buffer zone protection plan. That is to assess the vulnerabilities, to determine what needs to be done to improve security around them, and has begun with grants to local governments, state governments, to assist in enhancing that kind of security. The obvious question.
CAVUTO: Could I just stop you there? Because I'm a little slow at the take here. But if you live in one of these states that has a high concentration of plants, whether it's New Jersey or California or Texas or some of the others, are you or should you be more nervous now?
LUNGREN: You're safer today than you were after 9/11. You're safer today than you were before the beginning of the Department of Homeland Security. Are you safe enough? You're never safe enough. Can I give you an absolute guarantee? Absolutely not. Are we going to do more? Yes.
CAVUTO: Yes, but, Congressman, I guess what I'm asking is if these chemical facilities are everywhere, I mean, I don't see them under lock and key and armed guard. I mean, if someone had nefarious aims, I mean, it's still possible that he or she could do some damage, right?
LUNGREN: It is not impossible that we could have a successful attack. But if you're asking whether or not we have done a lot more, yes, a lot more has been done. Do we need to do more? Yes.
But one of the things I want to make clear is this. We have vulnerabilities all over the country, and chemical plants are one of them. But for us to elevate that above other things is just wrong-headed. If we go by the target du jour, the target of the day, we're going to be chasing our tail all the way around. We can't go by yesterday's study.
CAVUTO: Actually, you raise a very good point, Congressman. But I do want to ask, one thing that Congressman Markey said that kind of sticks with me, the idea that if Al Qaeda or whatever group strikes again, it would want to concentrate on a high body count and go into the thousands, the tens of thousands of victims. Do you buy that?
LUNGREN: Oh, I believe that if they could, they would wish to do that. That's why probably the greatest threat we have in this nation is a nuclear weapon somehow exploded in a major metropolitan area.
But let's remember, a target such as a stadium full of people watching a ballgame is certainly as high a target as a chemical plant. What I don't want us to do is to start going off, saying, we've got to do everything we can in this particular area, and forget about other areas.
We don't have an unlimited amount of money. We have to do careful risk assessment. And that's what we've been doing in this last Congress to try and do a better job than we have before.
CAVUTO: All right. Congressman, thank you very much. Appreciate your thoughts. Congressman Dan Lungren, joining us from Washington.
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