CFATS Program Not Reauthorized

The Senate did not pass the bill, leaving the program to expire yesterday.

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CFATS bill did not pass and program expired
The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism (CFATS) Program was up for reauthorization yesterday, on its expiration day and the bill did not pass. Image courtesy of tifonimages / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Just one month ago, US Senator and Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Gary Peters (D-MI), and Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tom Carper (D-DE), and James Lankford (R-OK)  introduced S. 2178, a five-year reauthorization of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program.

Two chemical organizations, American Chemistry Council (ACC) and National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) were looking forward to the continuation of the CFATS program.

The bill was not passed yesterday, however, and the program expired.

Both ACC and NACD are disappointed in this outcome.

ACC expressed concern and disappointment regarding the expiration of the CFATS program. ACC and its members are long-time supporters of CFATS because it is vital to national security and protecting the chemical sector from an act of terrorism. CFATS has a solid 15-year regulatory history, and the program has continued to deliver real results. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the agency has seen facilities increase their security measures by almost 60% under CFATS.

“By allowing CFATS to expire our industry and the country lost a valuable tool in the ongoing fight against terrorism. ACC and its members called on Congress to pass an extension for CFATS because the program provides a strong yet flexible national approach to chemical security. The Senate failed us by adjourning without acting to keep CFATS in place.

“The loss of CFATS creates immediate risks and problems by limiting the ability to vet personnel, increasing exposure to cyber threats, and opening the door to a patchwork of federal and state regulations. Congress must get back to work immediately to reinstate CFATS to help keep our industry and America safe.”

NACD President and CEO Eric R. Byer released a similar statement:

“NACD has been ringing the alarm about the approaching deadline for months. Now that the program has regrettably expired, our nation’s sensitive chemical facilities have the difficult challenge of navigating a wide range of national security risks— including physical, cyber, and emerging artificial intelligence risks—on their own. The industry will be left to manage these threats without the invaluable insight and partnership with the U.S Department of Homeland Security.

“Given the vital role of chemicals in our economy and their unique vulnerabilities, it’s imperative that we take the necessary steps to protect this critical infrastructure from a range of threats posed by the country’s adversaries. I am incredibly disappointed that the US Senate failed to reauthorize the CFATS program ahead of its expiration last night, potentially leaving our nation’s security exposed.

“NACD will continue to work with Congressional leaders to underscore the importance of this critical program and call on Congress to immediately reinstate and extend CFATS to ensure the security of the American people.”

Here is information on the CFATS program and why it is imperative to continue.


About the Author(s)

Powder Bulk Solids Staff

Established in 1983, Powder & Bulk Solids (PBS) serves industries that process, handle, and package dry particulate matter, including the food, chemical, and pharmaceutical markets.

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