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SOCMA Welcomes Senate Legislation Extending Chemical Security Rules

March 7, 2011
The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) welcomed the introduction of legislation in the U.S. Senate that would reauthorize chemical facility security standards, thereby preserving the progress companies across the country have made towards safeguard their facilities against attack.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), together with senators Mark Pryor (D-AR), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA), introduced the Continuing Chemical Facilities Antiterrorism Security Act, which would extend the current security standards until October 2015. The legislation is nearly identical to the amended version of a bill (S. 2996) Collins introduced last Congress, and would create voluntary exercise/training and technical assistance programs. The bill would also establish a best-practices clearinghouse for chemical facility security activities.

In introducing the bill on the Senate floor, Collins referenced SOCMA’s congressional testimony last year in which the association argued against altering CFATS by mandating Inherently Safer Technology (IST).

“Last year, the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates testified that mandatory IST would restrict the production of pharmaceuticals and microelectronics, hobbling these industries. The increased cost of a mandatory IST program may force chemical companies to simply transfer their operations overseas, costing American workers thousands of jobs,” Collins said.

“We appreciate the leadership of Senator Collins in spearheading this legislative effort that would protect facilities against attack without impairing the industry’s ability to remain innovative,” said SOCMA vice president of government relations Bill Allmond.

“SOCMA strongly supports extending the current standards without any significant programmatic changes to allow chemical facilities to fully comply,” said Allmond. “Without the assurance of a long-term authorization, companies run a risk of investing in costly activities today that might not satisfy regulatory standards tomorrow.”

SOCMA will work to rally congressional support for the bill and encourage its swift passage in the Senate. On April 13, SOCMA members will directly take their message to Capitol Hill and discuss their position with lawmakers and their staff during SOCMA Connect’s 4th Annual Washington Fly-in.

For information about SOCMA’s position on IST and to read the Five Things about Chemical Site Security That Nobody is Discussing, visit www.socma.com/ist.