The Senate last week passed H.R. 2892, the Department of Homeland Security’s appropriations bill, which included a one-year extension of department’s authority over security for chemical facilities potentially threatened by terrorist attacks. This one-year extension helps continue the progress that the agency and chemical industry have made in implementing safety and security regulations adopted in 2007, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards. (CFATS)
The House has also passed a one-year extension, and the approach is far superior to the permanent legislation passed by the House Homeland Security Committee, H.R. 2868, the Chemical Facility Antiterrorism Act. That seemingly well-intentioned piece of legislation would U.S. production and storage of chemicals more burdensome and costly while providing no benefit public safety or national security.
Bill Allmond, vice president of government relations at the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA), put it well: “As we have argued for the past several months, Congress needs to address the October 2009 CFATS deadline expeditiously. Because the House appears, so far, to be more interested in passing controversial amendments like inherently safer technology (IST) to the existing regulations rather than make the rules permanent, this extension is the most responsible action.”
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