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Miami-Dade County to eliminate chlorine terror train threat

(The following article by Mike Kirsch was posted on Miami television station CBS4 News on September 11.)

MIAMI -- We reported several months ago how rail tank cars hauling chlorine gas to water treatment facilities are considered potential weapons of mass destruction by the federal government. If blown up by terrorists, they could release a toxic cloud of gas, killing a hundred thousand people within a fifteen-mile radius.

As a result of our report, Miami-Dade County water treatment officials are marking this five-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks by beginning the gradual phasing out of chlorine gas as a treatment method for drinking water. safer water cleansing methods will be employed, thus helping disarm these potential rolling bombs throughout South Florida.

But there's still a lot of work ahead to make South Florida Safer from terrorist attacks, says City of Miami Police Chief John Timoney, who marked the anniversary of America's worst terrorist attack by taking a September 11th flight five years later from New York to South Florida after attending a counter-terrorism summit in Manhattan.

“This is not a short war and so for people--and this has always been my fear or concern-- people, particularly Americans, like things over and done with, in a hurry,” said Timoney. “We become jaded [and] complacent, which is the biggest enemy. I think we need to make sure that everybody realizes we're in for the long haul.”

Timoney says the re-emergence of tailbone forces in Afghanistan and the almost trillion dollar war spinning out of control in Iraq has America's counter terrorism experts conceding it may be time to start getting out of the oil business in the Middle East. He points to alternative fuel sources.

“Think of the governments we are depending on. My God, there is not a democracy among them. In the words of Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, we're financing our own enemies to kill us.”

Timoney supports the struggle of us troops in Iraq but would also like to see the federal government spend more counter-terrorism funds at home. He feels places such as Port Everglades and MIA could have beefed up security.

“There's a real need to do both, but I think there is a primary need to take care of the homeland, including the ports” he said.

Timoney says the weekend baptism of his granddaughter Leah Catherine in New York helped him put into perspective just how long the war on terror may last and why it's worth fighting.

“It isn’t about us, but about our children in my case grandchildren,” he said. “It's more similar to the cold war than anything else. It's going to take maybe a half a century.”

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

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