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.
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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.