It is believed that a perceived attack on American refinery installations could seriously undermine health and safety in the region, and this would be sharply accentuated should the installation be housed in urban areas with substantial concentration of population.
There is nothing that could stop terrorists targeting soft security targets of refineries in US in future, considering the massive trail of death, destruction and damages, these attacks are capable of bringing upon the people, property and environment, spanning several miles of the blasts. For one thing, chemical explosions could release toxic anhydrous hydrogen fluoride into the atmosphere, which could cause environmental poisoning and resultant deaths to human and plant life for several miles. For another, the damages scored could be almost permanent, since chemical leakages into the environment could have far-reaching and severe after effects on local areas.
Unlike other installations, an attack on refineries would reduce the entire installation into rubbles, within minutes of its occurrence, leaving nothing to chance or security interventions. Therefore it has become necessary to protect at least 700 sites across the country that could potentially kill or injure more than 100,000 people in a potential attack on these installations. (Art, 2006).
One of the most effective methods for reduced threats would be to replace the toxic chemicals with less virulent ones, which would reduce the level of dangers posed to human and ecological life.
Experts have determined that for a conversion cost of $20 million to $30 million per refinery, sulfuric acid could replace hydrofluoric acid in the alkylation process used to manufacture high-octane gasoline. (Flynn, 2006).
There is an urgent need to assess the risks and taken measures to alleviate or actively control the chemical sites .This could be done by having the plants owners to compulsorily present plans for reducing the risks involved with chemical plants. It would be necessary for the plants to first consider the present levels of available security, vis- a -vis the potential threats, pinpoint the areas of deficiencies, and take appropriate measure to reinforce strengths and neutralize weaknesses, or eliminate them. This is because experts are of the considered opinion that industrial sites having a high concentration of chemicals, presented a unique combination of lethality and vulnerability" (Art, 2006).
Another aspect that needs to be considered is it is also necessary to reduce the stock levels of chemicals in the plants in order that losses could be kept at the barest minimum, in the event of attacks. The accumulation of stocks could increase the level of insecurity and dangers posed by an imminent attack on such installations by terrorist’s forces.
It has been seen that one of the main aspects that fail during terrorists attacks is the communication systems, and therefore, it is necessary that these are maintained at maximum security levels. It is seen that this plant is situated at a remote place, which may not be easily accessible, and this make inter and intra communication more urgent. Regular mock exercises and drills have to regularly conducted, preferably with military forces and Special Task Forces who should be able to reach the vicinity