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Industrial Safety

US Senate passes bill to extend chemical facility security law

Legislation would keep program going for three more years

by Cheryl Hogue
July 9, 2020

 

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Credit: Shutterstock

The US Senate introduced and passed bipartisan legislation (S. 4148) July 1 to extend the chemical facility security law for 3 years. The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) statute will expire July 23 unless Congress sends legislation to president Donald J. Trump to extend it.

CFATS identifies and regulates high-risk facilities with greater than threshold amounts of certain hazardous chemicals to ensure the facilities have security measures in place. The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency manages the program, which Congress created in 2007.

“The passage of this bill by the Senate is a major step toward saving CFATS,” the US chemical industry’s major lobbying group, the American Chemistry Council, says in a statement provided to C&EN.

Although S. 4148 is a simple extension of CFATS, some in Congress are calling for changes to the program. The House Committee on Homeland Security in December adopted a bill (H.R. 3256) that would make a number of revisions to CFATS, such as requiring the DHS to establish a standing advisory committee on chemical security. Meanwhile, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced a bill (S. 3416) in March that would lead to fewer inspections and streamlined assessments for facilities participating in an industry stewardship program that is recognized by the DHS.

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