American Chemistry Council's new report reveals what was lost after CFATS expiration.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

February 28, 2024

2 Min Read
CFATS and national terrorism
This is the first time in 16 years that CFATS has expired.Image courtesy of Dean Mitchell / iStock via Getty Images

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) recently released a survey report that reveals the country lost valuable tools to fight terrorism and secure chemical facilities when Congress allowed the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) to expire last July.

The chemical industry manufactures products that are vital to the everyday health and well-being of our nation, which is why Congress directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2006 to create CFATS to help protect the chemical sector. 2023 was the first time since then that Congress let it expire.

“For the first time in nearly two decades our country finds itself without a chemical security program,” said Chris Jahn, ACC president and CEO. “The loss of CFATS is a gift to our adversaries and makes it easier for terrorists to attack our country.”

ACC conducted a survey of member companies to better understand the concerns and impacts regarding the expiration of CFATS.

A majority of companies responding to the survey expressed support for restoring CFATS and they are concerned securing chemical facilities will be more difficult without CFATS. And most companies made it clear that chemical security should be regulated at the federal level and not through a patchwork of state programs.

  • 96% of companies support restoring CFATS.

  • 85% of companies are concerned that not restoring CFATS will hinder chemical security.

A large number of companies said they benefited from the security tools that can only be provided through CFATS. They said these tools were especially useful when developing security plans and, in some cases, irreplaceable. Particularly the ability to vet personnel against the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s terrorist database and the insight and expertise provide by audits and inspections conducted under CFATS by DHS.

  • 75% of companies say the ability to vet personnel against the terrorist screening database (TSDB) was important.

  • 56% of the respondents do not have an alternative way to adequately vet personnel for potential security threats.

  • 92% of companies say DHS was helpful to designing/improving security plans.

  • Nearly half say they do not have an alternative way to obtain the same level of assistance for developing security plans that they receive from DHS through working together under CFATS.

“CFATS provided a powerful one-two punch in the fight against terrorism,” Jahn explained. “The program was highly effective in helping companies vet personnel for potential ties to terrorism and beef up their security plans. CFATS is a good example of how smart regulations can help the protect the country and provide value to the regulated community.”

In addition to the support of large and small businesses, emergency responders and labor have sent letters urging Congress to restore the program. Just a few of those organizations are the United Steel Workers, National Sheriffs' Association, Emergency Services Sector Coordinating Counsel, and the American Federation of Government Employees.

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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