Short items

Chemical security bill worries industry 

Can chemical plants be too secure? Antiterrorism legislation passed by the US House Homeland Security Committee would let the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulate the safety of chemical facilities across the country. The Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Act of 2008 is meant to make permanent last year’s generally welcomed DHS regulations (see Chemistry World, May 2007, p18), and is broadly similar to them. But a few provisions suggest that DHS might be allowed (under the banner of reducing risk from terrorist attack) to demand changes in chemical manufacturing processes and products - which worries chemical manufacturers. The bill is to be reviewed by other House committees, and no companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate yet. 

Jets on biofuels

Virgin Atlantic, Boeing, and GE Aviation announced they had flown a Boeing 747 jumbo jet between London and Amsterdam on a mix of conventional fuel and biofuel - but it was not the algae-derived oil many had hoped for (see Chemistry World, February 2008, p6). Instead, the biofuel was coconut and babassu palm oil, which Virgin boss Richard Branson admitted was not a sustainable biofuel source. Continental Airlines said it plans to conduct a biofuels demonstration flight, also with Boeing and GE, in the first half of 2009. 

Green chemistry progress

The US Green Chemistry Research and Development Act,which promotes recognition of a US green chemistry program, has been introduced into Senate, which blocked similar bills in 2004 and 2006 (see Chemistry World, August 2007, p7).