Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS)

Legislation to extend the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program has been recently introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

In the House, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), chairman of the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies Subcommittee, was joined by the full Homeland Security Committee chairman, Peter T. King (R-NY), in introducing legislation that would extend by seven years DHS authority to regulate anti-terrorism and safety measures at "high-risk" chemical facilities.
 
In the Senate, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Mark Pryor (D-AR) introduced a bill to reauthorize CFATS for three years. Also included in the Collins legislation are pro-industry provisions that require DHS to improve collaboration with covered facilities on how to comply with CFATS regulatory mandates. These programs include a voluntary technical assistance program for regulated entities, and the creation of a chemical facility security best practices clearinghouse.
 
Notably absent from either bill are provisions that would force CFATS-covered facilities to assess or implement "inherently safer technologies" (IST) to reduce the risk of a terrorist attack. IST assessments typically involve evaluating whether or not dangerous chemicals can be used less, stored differently or replaced by another substance in order to reduce the consequences of a terrorist attack. Obviously, IST mandates would be neither practical nor possible for CFATS-covered propane facilities.
 
Chairman King and Subcommittee Lungren have both noted that CFATS extension legislation will pass the House Homeland Security Committee, and likely the entire House of Representatives before Summer. The Senate, however, appears more deadlocked. IST-supporting Senators have suggested that it will be an uphill battle simply to consider, let alone pass, legislation to extend DHS's CFATS authority. Due to NPGA's efforts to date, 97% of propane facilities nationwide are exempt from the CFATs program.

 



 

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