Issue Date: June 6, 2011
House Panel Advances Chemical Security Bill
The House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee has given bipartisan support to legislation that would reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security’s program for protecting chemical facilities against terrorist attacks. The bill (H.R. 908) would extend the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Act for an additional seven years, through 2018, without making any significant changes in the program. Five Democrats joined the committee’s Republican members in voting for the measure 33-16. The chemical industry strongly supports continuing the existing CFATS program, which requires facilities to design and implement security plans to thwart potential attacks. “We expect Congress to continue the momentum provided by this bipartisan passage of H.R. 908 and swiftly pass a long-term extension of the CFATS program,” says William E. Allmond IV, vice president of government relations at the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates, an industry trade group. However, a coalition of activist organizations says the bill is insufficient because it does not mandate the use of safer chemicals and technologies. “Nearly 10 years after the Sept. 11 attacks, it is unacceptable that millions of Americans are still living under the threat of chemical disaster,” says Elizabeth Hitchcock of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
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