A Precarious “Hot Zone”–The President’s Plan to Combat Bioterrorism

SUMMARY — … With this most recent announcement, the President introduced Presidential Decision Directive 62 (PDD 62), which is to “create a new and more systematic approach to fighting the terrorist threat of the next century” and to clarify the roles of agencies and departments to ensure a coordinated approach to planning for such terrorist induced emergencies. … With obviously no alternatives, and a vital need to match resources with programmatic goals, the GAO was left to suggest that OMB itself carry out the entire crosscutting, coordination function. … Again, there is a “grab-bag” of solutions, under-funded, nestled in the most significant of legislation passed to date on the bioterrorism threat. … With the further restriction of United States v. Lopez requiring a “substantial effects” standard on commerce further doubt would be raised as to the reliability of a Commerce Clause basis for regulation of bioterrorism in state and local government–hardly making such legislation useful to deal with public health emergencies. … An amendment of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 to include the preparation of plans in coordination with FEMA and the FBI for bioterrorism prevention, preparedness and response, should also be specifically included to avoid any confusion of interpretation. … Federal leadership in the intragovernmental crosscutting and coordination area for bioterrorism, as distinguished from the broadly defined area of WMD, should be lodged with the Public Health Service, Surgeon General. …

Citation: A Precarious Legal ‘Hot Zone’ — The President’s Plan to Combat Bioterrorism 164 Mil. L. Rev. 135-154 (Spring 2000). Assessment of the dangerously inadequate status of preparedness, research and response to bioterrorism in the Clinton Administration, in terms of executive branch responsibilities.

Texas Tech University
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