Monday, October 02, 2006

Congress Approves Chemical Facility Security Legislation

Sep 30: The House and Senate approved the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill, HR. 5441, which contains language authorizing the Department to regulate security at chemical facilities. The agreement was reached by Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-NY) and was approved by a Senate-House negotiating panel [See WIMS 9/27/06].

American Chemistry Council (ACC) President and CEO Jack Gerard issued a statement on the final approval saying, “ACC would like to thank Congress for their work in accomplishing our shared objective of passing meaningful chemical security legislation this year. This measure represents significant progress in the effort to secure America’s chemical industry, an essential part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. While this bill is not a home run, Congress came through in the last inning to deliver essential chemical security legislation. For the past several years, ACC has sought performance based chemical security legislation through the relevant authorizing committees. While we would have preferred a more comprehensive bill and still have concerns regarding certain provisions, the approved legislation gives the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) the power to establish effective national chemical security performance standards for the entire industry.

“Congress has given DHS risk-based tools to ensure that chemical facilities assess potential security vulnerabilities and implement appropriate security measures. Equally important, the legislation gives DHS clear authority to inspect facilities and apply strong penalties to those that fail to comply. ACC will work closely with DHS as it develops regulations that build on the leadership demonstrated by our member companies, who have invested nearly $3 billion on security enhancements under ACC’s mandatory Responsible Care Security Code®.”

Access the statement from ACC (click here). Access a release from Senator Collins on the agreement (click here). Access legislative details for HR 5441(click here). Access the Senate hearing website on Inherently Safer Technology (IST) for links to all testimony and statements (click here). Access the GAO statement on IST (click here). [*Haz]