New CFATS Legislative Hearings to Begin

Steve Roberts briefly mentioned in this blog the new CFATS legislation that was being introduced in Congress.  During our recent CFATS Webinar Bill Allmond the vice president, government relations for the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) gave us a closer look at each of the four new CFATS bills that have been introduced. 

As Bill pointed out, since the mid-term elections there seems to be a shift in how Congress is dealing with CFATS.  The previous Congress was looking for some provisions to be added to the program.  Now there seems to be bi-partisan support for extending the existing standards.  Here is a quick snapshot of the legislation that has recently been introduced:

S. 473 Continuing Chemical Facilities Antiterrorism Security Act of 2011 – This was introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) with co-sponsors Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Robert Portman (R-OH) and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), so it has bi-partisan support.  It would extend CFATS for three years.  It is essentially the same legislation that was introduced in the last Congress.  It adds a couple of voluntary training and exercise programs for facilities, but it does not include an Inherently Safer Technologies (IST) provision. This bill has been referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee.

HR 901 Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Security Authorization Act of 2011 – This bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Daniel Lungren (R, CA-3).  It has a number of co-sponsors – all republicans – including Rep. Peter King (R, NY-3) who is the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.  This piece of legislation would extend CFATS for seven years.  It adds a conflict preemption allowing states to pass stricter standards as long as they do not conflict with CFATS compliance.  It also revises language on alternative security programs and it excludes drinking or wastewater facilities. It has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce committee and the House Homeland Security committee.

H.R.908 - Full Implementation of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act – This was introduced by Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy members Rep. Tim Murphy (R, PA-18) and Rep. Gene Green (D, TX-29). This legislation would extend CFATS for seven years.  It makes no other changes, but it does not exclude any type or class of facility, so it could be extended to water and water treatment facilities.  A legislative hearing on this bill is scheduled for Thursday, March 31, so look for more info in the near future. 

H.R.916 - Continuing Chemical Facilities Antiterrorism Security Act of 2011 – Rep. Charles Dent (R, PA-15) introduced this legislation.  It would extend CFATS for five years, makes no other changes to the existing CFATS program and does not exclude any type or class of facility.  It has been referred to the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies.

Bill Allmond talked about what these bills have in common and how they differ.  He also gave us some great insight into what to expect next -- other legislation that might also be introduced and which bills are more likely to move forward for final passage.  You might want to listen to his archived presentation.  It should give you an excellent idea of where we are on the CFATS legislative front.


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