Issue Date: January 28, 2008
Plant Security Bill Moves In House
Legislation that gives the Department of Homeland Security permanent power to regulate the chemical industry has been approved by the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security & Infrastructure Protection. Provisions in the bill include requirements to substitute less hazardous chemicals where possible in plant processes, to lower stored amounts of hazardous compounds, and to prohibit disclosure of protected facility information. The measure was amended to require that DHS's Office of Chemical Facility Security be headed by a career civil service employee with expertise in the chemical industry. A change to require that all workers at high-risk plants undergo background checks was narrowly defeated but may be taken up again later. The bill now goes to the full Homeland Security Committee for consideration. Current DHS authority to regulate chemical plants is set to expire in October 2009.
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