August 11, 2007. On Thursday, Governor Jon Corzine held a press conference in South Kearny using the Pulaski Skyway as a backdrop. Corzine stated that it might make sense to spend $1 billion to replace the bridge than to spend $100 million to maintain it over the next 10 years. U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez vowed to lobby Congress and the Bush administration for increased transportation funding.
Earlier in the week there was a story which received very little press coverage. There was a chlorine leak on a railroad container which injured a CSX employee in South Kearny. The leak was contained to the area immediately surrounding the container. The Kearny Fire Department and a HazMat team crew responded and found that a valve on the container had leaked allowing chlorine gas to escape.
Governor Corzine missed a great opportunity to hold a press conference to cover both the safety of New Jersey's bridges and its chemical plants.
November 19, 2007. In an article entitled Activists fight chemical lobby on security, Donal F. Nicolai, president and CEO of Kuehne Chemical stated "Let’s face reality. Sitting where we are sitting, it’s a legitimate concern. So is there a benefit to reducing or eliminating that? Absolutely." Nicolai is referring to the option of retrofitting its South Kearny chemical plant to produce chlorine on site rather than transporting liquid chlorine to the plant by railcar. In August, KOTW suggested that Governor Jon Corzine spend the money he was earmarking for repairs to the Pulaski Skyway to the Kuehne Chemical plant. Our exact words were, "If the State of New Jersey is thinking of spending $1 billion dollars to secure the Pulaski Skyway it should divert that money to help Kuehne Chemical retrofit its South Kearny plant to make it as safe as its Delaware plant".
Source: AP/Mike Derer
June 19, 2009 (Kearny NJ) This week the Center for American Progress reported on proposed Federal Legislation, The Chemical Facility Antiterrorism Act of 2009, which would push chemical companies to convert to safer alternative chemicals and processes. The Center for American Progress featured the Kuehne Chemical plant in Kearny as an example of a facility that could be converted into a safer facility. KOTW has long advocated this change.
Read the Center for American Progress article by clicking here.
December 6, 2008 (Kearny NJ). The Kuehne Chemical plant in South Kearny is once again in the news. The Center for American Progress released a report entitled Chemical Security 101: What You Don’t Have Can’t Leak, or Be Blown Up by Terrorists. Kuehne Chemical is one of the companies on the list of 101 most dangerous chemical plants in the United States. Readers of KOTW have long been aware of the potential for a disaster. It is disturbing that little has been done to ensure the safety of the public from a terrorist attack on the Kuehne Chemical plant. KOTW has long advocated for a public-private partnership with the owners of Kuehne to convert their chemical plant to a facility which does not house large quantities of chlorine gas on site. The Center for American Progress report agrees with KOTW's recommendation: the Kuehne plant should be retrofit to produce bleach by using salt and electricity rather than from chlorine gas which would eliminate a terrorist target-- the storage and transportation of large quantities of chlorine gas in and around the plant.