October 9, 2001
12:00 AM
WASHINGTON – Senator Frank H. Murkowski (R-AK), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee released the following statement today during a hearing on security for America’s energy infrastructure. “The events of September 11 have forced a long overdue, across-the-board evaluation of the security of our Nation’s entire infrastructure, such as energy, banking, transportation and telecommunications. In the energy sector there are numerous facilities, each with varying degrees of vulnerability and consequences if attacked. These include oil and natural gas pipelines, refineries, electric generation, transmission, substation and control facilities and hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants. “For some of these, such as nuclear powerplants and hydroelectric dams, the federal government already plays an important role in assuring security and safety. For others, such as oil refineries and electric transmission lines, currently there is little, if any federal role. “Clearly there are some things we can and should do immediately. We should complete Yucca Mountain so that our high-level radioactive waste can be stored safely. Securing our nation’s waste in one central, secure and remote facility is far safer than our current scattershot approach of leaving waste at 103 nuclear powerplants nationwide. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission should remove from its web site detailed information about the location and safety features of individual nuclear powerplants. I can’t imagine the public needs to know the exact latitude and longitude of nuclear powerplants. “We need to review existing federal reporting requirements and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to prevent the disclosure of sensitive information. We must make sure that we never again allow for the release of sensitive nuclear weapon data through bulk declassification. “But we must also be careful about expecting too much from the federal government. The FBI and the United States Intelligence community will play key roles, but we can’t station federal troops along every mile of pipeline or in front of every refinery. State and local police will remain the front line law enforcement agencies and the industry will have primary responsibility for security at their facilities. As we review what should be done, it should be proportionate to the public task.” ###