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Bill Includes Rep. Al Green’s Amendment to Expand Key Homeland Security Initiative

Washington (DC) January 20, 2010- Today, by a unanimous vote, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2611, a bipartisan measure which would authorize the Department of Homeland Security’s Securing the Cities initiative. The bill, introduced by Representative Peter King (NY-03), included an amendment offered by Representative Al Green (TX-09) that would expand the scope of the Securing the Cities program to include at least two additional high-risk urban cities, making it a national program.

Launched in 2006, Securing the Cities is a unified effort among Federal, state and local law enforcement officials in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to defend against the threat of a radiological or nuclear attack. Presently, Securing the Cities operates only in New York City and its surrounding areas.

“While it appears that New York City remains the prime target for terrorist activity, this bill will ensure that other densely populated areas and those housing critical infrastructure are equally protected from dirty bombs. My amendment would benefit even more high-risk urban areas by providing the necessary resources to detect and intercept illicit radiological material before it is used in a weapon by would-be terrorists,” said Congressman Green.

Through a ring of detectors on highways, bridges, tunnels and on mobile units around the city, Securing the Cities provides a layered defense against the smuggling of a nuclear weapon. The idea behind Securing the Cities is that the more law enforcement officials are on the lookout for nuclear material outside New York City, the better chance law enforcement has to prevent a successful nuclear attack.

“Like New York City, Houston is among the highest threat cities in the nation. Our region is extremely dense with critical infrastructure assets, which includes our large energy and petrochemical sectors. By replicating the success of Securing the Cities in more places like Houston, we can bolster law enforcement capabilities to combat potential terrorist activity and protect our communities. Securing the Cities is a critical component in our overall strategy to protect our homeland, especially our cities,” stated Congressman Green.

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