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Safety

Obama Signs Plant Security Law

by Glenn Hess
January 5, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 1

President Barack Obama has signed industry-supported legislation (H.R. 4007) into law that reauthorizes the Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program for four years. “After years of engagement on this issue, we are delighted to see this bill become law of the land,” says Lawrence D. Sloan, CEO of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates, an industry group. “A multiyear authorization will provide much-needed certainty for chemical [plant] owners and operators implementing the CFATS program.” Since its creation in 2007, the program has been continued year to year through the appropriations process. CFATS requires high-risk chemical facilities to implement a variety of physical- and cybersecurity measures that are subject to DHS review and approval. The legislation cleared the House of Representatives and Senate unanimously, though some House Democrats expressed reservations about extending the program without major modification. Environmental activists opposed the bill, saying it would continue to exempt public water systems and wastewater treatment facilities from CFATS’s requirements. They also note that it does not require facilities to convert to safer chemicals or processes.

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