US chemical security bill known as CFATS passes out of House committee

Members of the US House Committee on Homeland Security have authorized a three-year extension of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) by passing HR 4007, the “Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014.” This bipartisan legislation passed through the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies earlier this month under the leadership of Subcommittee Chairman Patrick Meehan (R-PA).

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) weighed in on the passage of this legislation:

“ACC commends the Committee for coming together to pass this important legislation, which is critical to ensure that the CFATS program continues to move forward. The legislation will give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and industry the long overdue regulatory certainty that is necessary to effectively safeguard chemical facilities. The Committee’s bill addresses important security issues and will help DHS to continue to make improvements to the existing framework for regulating chemical security under CFATS.

“An extended authorization would help safeguard chemical facilities and provide the regulatory consistency and operational stability to ensure the success of CFATS, while giving industry confidence in long-term capital commitments to this program. Ensuring the future of this important program will also help DHS recruit and retain top talent to effectively implement CFATS.”

Congressman Meehan was also effusive in his praise of the legislation:

“The unanimous passage of this legislation today shows that both parties can support common-sense efforts to prevent terrorist attacks at facilities like the fertilizer plant that exploded with catastrophic consequences in West, Texas last year. This bill takes prudent steps to codify and strengthen the CFATS program and will make the thousands of chemical facilities across the nation safer. It’s supported by the Department of Homeland Security and by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. Washington needs more of this collaboration between Republicans and Democrats, and I’m hopeful it will be considered before the full House promptly.”

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