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SOCMA Urges Congress to Approve Long-Term Extension of CFATS

Article-SOCMA Urges Congress to Approve Long-Term Extension of CFATS

With the current authority for the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) set to expire in days, the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) has urged Congress to act now to ensure the program’s continued success by approving a multi-year extension.

In testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, SOCMA's vice president of government relations, Bill Allmond, said Congress can assure the program's forward momentum by passing H.R. 908, recently introduced by Subcommittee vice chair Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX). In doing so, Congress would reauthorize CFATS through 2017, allowing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement the program through completion.

Allmond reiterated a point made by SOCMA in written testimony submitted to the House Homeland Security Committee earlier this year: "The need for annual reauthorization of the program has created uncertainty for facilities regulated by CFATS. Without the assurance of a long-term authorization of these regulations, companies run a risk of investing in costly activities today that might not satisfy regulatory standards tomorrow."

Any programmatic changes would also leave government and industry with an incomplete picture of the current security standards. "Completing the program's implementation from start to finish would provide DHS and chemical companies the ability to assess the overall efficacy of CFATS, identifying its strengths and weakness," he said.

Allmond urged policymakers not to devote any further time to discussing the discredited concept of mandatory inherently safer technology (IST), noting that IST would create "substantial unintended consequences" for the chemical industry, such as in the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used in life-saving drugs.

SOCMA will continue to work with both the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees towards crafting a long-term authorization of CFATS. On April 13, SOCMA members will directly take their message to Congress and discuss their position with lawmakers and their staff during SOCMA Connect’s 4th Annual Washington Fly-in.

For more information on IST, visit www.socma.com/ist.

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