House Homeland Security Still Working on Chemical Security Bill

The House Homeland Security Committee continues its markup at 5:30 p.m. of H.R. 2868, the Chemical Facility Antiterrorism Act, a seemingly well-intentioned piece of legislation that will make U.S. production and storage of chemicals more expensive and burdensome with no appreciable benefit to public safety and national security. Extension of the current 2006 regulations would allow the increased safety measures known as the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, or CFATS, to be implemented fully in a logical, effective way. The Obama Administration supports such an extension.

We posted on the bill here and here, and have also noted the writing of E.F. Glynn, blogging at KansasMeadowlark, concerned about the impact of yet more government regulation on farmers and the ag economy. In a new post, “Homeland Security may impose new regulations on agriculture,” Glynn includes videos from last week’s committee meeting and expresses astonishment that the debate seems to be driven by a left-leaning think tank: “A Center for American Progress study that shows no economists or engineers on the project team, nor any economic or engineering analysis, is enough for Congress to decide national chemical security policy?”

Well, count up the usual suspects. The believers in regulations first and always at OMB Watch say, “Chemical Security Bill Withstanding Industry Assault“: “With luck and the continued hard work of the ‘Blue Green Coalition’ of labor, environmental, and public interest groups, the bill hopefully will emerge from this committee mostly unscathed.” See, obviously this coalition formed because of their mutual interest in fighting terrorism.

There’s also the U.S. PIRG news release, “U.S. PIRG Urges Passage of Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009.”

Both groups support the “citizen suits” provisions which create a second regulatory system, that imposed by environmentalist lawsuits. Blogger P.J. Coyle also wonders about the impetus behind the newly added “citizen suits” provision at his blog, “Chemical Facility Security News.”

As committee members debate this legislation that will add costs to a major employer during a serious recession, we would remind them of these facts, courtesy the American Chemistry Council:

That’s 5.66 million jobs.

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