More Legislative Movement on CFATS

On the heels of the 2010 Chemical Sector Security Summit in Baltimore earlier this month, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., has introduced a new "Secure Chemical Facilities Act" bill in the Senate. S. 3599 is similar to HR. 2868 introduced by Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., in the House and passed in November. That bill would make CFATS permanent, but it also contains an Inherently Safer Technology (IST) provision that would require chemical facilities and businesses to review their processes and chemicals used.

The industry has opposed the IST approach saying that it could be costly especially for smaller businesses and facilities and that it could potentially drive business and jobs off shore. Both the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) and the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) have come out against the Lautenberg bill. They point out that at the chemical summit in Baltimore earlier this month, the head of Homeland Security, Secretary Janet Napolitano, praised the current CFATS program and its effectiveness.

Both NPRA and SOCMA also object to the IST provision because it is a process safety philosophy and not necessarily a security measure. They further claim that measuring effectiveness would be difficult given the subjective nature of the IST provision. It could also mean that many facilities will have to go through another lengthy evaluation process.

Another portion of the new legislations that the industry finds objectionable is private right of action (PRA) provision. This allows members of the community to file suit in federal court against the Department of Homeland Security compelling them to enforce the IST and security mandates against a specific facility. Citizens could also petition DHS to conduct investigations of facilities suspected of not meeting the required mandates.

SOCMA and other members of the industry favor a bi-partisan bill by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. That bill would extend CFATS in its current form until 2015. It does not include IST or PRA provisions.

The Lautenberg bill has been referred to the Senate Homeland Security Committee and it could come up for consideration the last week in July. It is unlikely that it can make much progress before the August recess. When legislators return in September it is widely believed that all attention will be focused on the November election, so that could mean we won't see much progress this year.


Copyright © ADT Security Services, Inc. 2011 - All Rights Reserved. Legal Disclaimer - Some of the individuals posting to this site, including the moderators, work for ADT Security Services, Inc. Opinions expressed here and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not of ADT Security Services, Inc. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by ADT Security Services, Inc. or any other party. This site is available to the public. No information you consider confidential should be posted to this site. By posting you agree to be solely responsible for the content of all information you contribute, link to, or otherwise upload to the Website and release ADT Security Services, Inc. from any liability related to your use of the Website. You also grant to ADT Security Services, Inc. a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free and fully-paid, transferable (including rights to sublicense) right to exercise all copyright, publicity, and moral rights with respect to any original content you provide. The comments are moderated. Comments will appear as soon as they are approved by the moderator.