Chemical Security Legislation update

Below is an update from the Chlorine Chemistry Council regarding the latest on CFATS reauthorization.  CFATS is the chemical security legislation enacted a number of years ago to secure chemical facilties from the possibility of a terrorist attack.  Chlorine gas facilities at Water treatment plants were exempted in the initial temporary law because they were covered by the Bio Terrorism Act of 2002 which required plants to secure their perimeters.  To avoid duplicative regulation, the Chlorine Chemistry Council supports Republicans who are pushing for an extension of the current law that would continue to exempt chlorine gas use at water plants. - Mark Nelson May 10, 2011



House Democrats To Press For CFATS To Cover Water Treatments Plants:

House Democrats say they will push the House energy and transportation committees to subject drinking water and wastewater facilities to the Department of Homeland Security's Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), reports Inside EPA (April 15).  The move comes “after Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee rejected an amendment mandating a new EPA program to require security rules at the treatment facilities on par with similar requirements at other facilities,” writes the newsletter.

During an April 14 markup of H.R. 901, which would authorize the CFATS program for seven years, a House Committee on Homeland Security panel rejected an amendment allowing EPA to apply CFATS to drinking water and wastewater facilities, notes Inside EPA.  The amendment was offered by the panel's ranking member, Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), who told Inside EPA that “working with the other relevant committees is ‘the next step we'll have to take, obviously.’”  The House Committee on Energy and Commerce is poised to mark up its bill, H.R. 908, also extending CFATS by seven years, says the newsletter; “currently, the energy committee could have the upper hand in any jurisdiction fight because H.R. 901 is set to be referred to the energy committee, but H.R. 908 would not need to be referred to the homeland security panel.”

In the Senate, among several bills on CFATS, industry “supports Sen. Susan Collins’ (R-ME) bill, S. 473, to extend CFATS through 2014. Collins' bill would not address the water facilities exemption." The newsletter says that “regardless of how or whether water facilities are addressed…sources say the bills will most likely not include any mandate that facilities subject to security rules adopt inherently safer technology (IST)…which can require facility changes to reduce risks, for example requiring companies to switch from chlorine to a substance that would pose less of a health risk if released following a terrorist attack.”

- Chlorine Chemistry Council April 20, 2011

Tags: Chemical Regulations