Issue Date: October 26, 2009
Industry Criticizes Chemical Security Bill
Chemical industry officials say lawmakers have improved a bill moving through the House that would give the Department of Homeland Security permanent authority to regulate security practices at chemical facilities. But they remain vehemently opposed to provisions in the legislation that could require the highest risk facilities to adopt inherently safer technology (IST)—alternative chemicals or processes that would reduce the consequences of a terrorist attack. “While we were able to reach agreement on many important concerns, we continue to seek common ground over what authority should be granted to the government when it comes to requiring process changes or product substitutions,” says Calvin M. Dooley, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council, an industry trade group. Forced chemical switching under an IST mandate will not necessarily result in safer operations, adds Charles T. Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association. The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009 (H.R. 2868) was approved by a vote of 18-10 by the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy & Environment earlier this month.
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