U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL) questioned Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Director Joe Allbaugh and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at Appropriations Committee hearings in the Senate. Senator Shelby raised issues related to the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program and the Chemical Demilitarization Program.
In a hearing before the full Senate Appropriations Committee Secretary Donald Rumsfeld responded to a question from Senator Shelby regarding the Chemical Demilitarization Program and whether the program is "on the right track" by saying that everyone in the room knew the answer to the question "the program is in breach of Nunn-McCurdy, of course it's not on the right track."
The Bush Administration has labeled the Chemical Demilitarization Program as "Ineffective".
"Clearly, the Chemical Demilitarization Program is off-track and remains in desperate need of leadership," said Shelby. "The Nunn-McCurdy breach is a very serious issue. Even though the program was certified and will continue, I believe it is important that we continue to monitor this program very closely."
And today in his appearance before the VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee, Director Joe Allbaugh, responding to a question from Senator Shelby regarding FEMA's role in the CSEPP program, stated his desire to see FEMA's responsibilities in the CSEPP program go back to the Army. "The Army should have the entire program," said Allbaugh.
"I was reassured today that FEMA Director Allbaugh understands and shares my very serious concerns with the management and effectiveness of the CSEPP program," said Shelby. "The problems currently faced by CSEPP will need to be addressed quickly, so that the maximum protections will be in place for the people of Calhoun County.
"The Army has the responsibility to fund this program. FEMA has the responsibility to implement these safety measures. The current impasse and the remaining safety measures deserve attention at the highest levels and must be resolved," added Shelby.