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Senate Homeland Security Committee Approves 3-Year Extension of Chemical Security Rules

The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) commended the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for extending the current chemical site security rules, thereby protecting the unprecedented investments that both government and industry have made to improve site security over the past four years.

The committee voted 8 to 2 to approve the Continuing Chemical Facilities Antiterrorism Security Act (S. 473), spearheaded by Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME). The legislation would extend the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) until October 2015.

This is the third bipartisan chemical security bill to be approved by its respective committee this Congress.

“SOCMA thanks Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman and Ranking Member Susan Collins for their many efforts in this Congress and in previous ones to achieve this sensitive balance in a fair and bipartisan manner,” said SOCMA president and CEO Lawrence D. Sloan.
 
“For the past two years, SOCMA has worked closely with the Committee's majority and minority staff to promote passage of reauthorizing legislation that preserves the efforts made thus far by the Homeland Security Department to implement CFATS as well as the investments made by the chemical industry to reach compliance,” Sloan added.

Included in the bill were provisions added during the committee’s consideration of similar legislation (also sponsored by Collins) last Congress in an effort to garner bipartisan support for its approval. These include voluntary technical assistance to facilities in risk reduction and emergency response training and exercise programs.

SOCMA urges the full Senate to act quickly on S.473 and approve it in a timely manner. Since CFATS is temporarily extended through this fiscal year, it is necessary to ensure smooth and uninterrupted continuation of the standards to provide regulated entities the certainty they need that their compliance costs were not paid for in vain.

The future of the CFATS program will be among the topics discussed at the 2011 Chemical Sector Security Summit, July 6-7, in Baltimore. The annual event, co-funded by DHS and SOCMA, will feature a congressional panel discussion on current legislation to extend the program.

For more information about SOCMA’s position on chemical site security, visit www.socma.com/ist.

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