Long term, standalone CFATS authorization has eluded Congressional lawmaker. Rather, Congress continues to authorize CFATS through a somewhat ad hoc process, mostly with appropriations measures. With the change in House leadership (Peter King again has the gavel as the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee), some believe a more permanent prospect for CFATS authorization is within reach. Indeed, just last week, on March 3, four separate chemical security measures were introduced, one in the Senate and three in the House: S. 473, the Continuing Chemical Facilities Antiterrorism Security Act of 2011, H.R. 901, Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Security Authorization Act of 2011, H.R. 908, the Full Implementation of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act of 2011, and H.R. 916, the Continuing Chemical Facilities Antiterrorism Security Act of 2011.
All of these bills have a few (welcome) things in common - they extend CFATS authorization (largely in its current form) for a period of several years (H.R. 901 would extend CFATS authorization until 2018) and none contain the requirement for Inherently Safer Technology (some previous legislative proposals have included such measures in the context of "methods to reduce the consequences of a terrorist attack"). We're likely to have future hearings, so stay tuned.
Steve Roberts is an attorney who practices in the area of homeland security law and policy, with a special emphasis on the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), rail transportation security, the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), and critical infrastructure related public policy. A columnist for the National Law Journal, Roberts also writes on homeland security regulation for Chemical Week. He is a regular guest instructor at the United States Department of Homeland Security's Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia.
By Guest Blogger- Steve Roberts
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