Congressional Committees Work to Develop Chemical Security Bill Before Rules Expire

May 8, 2009
by BRETT SLENSKY
Client Alert Newsletter May 2009

The Department of Homeland Security's ("DHS") final interim rules regulating security at high-risk chemical facilities (the Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards regulation or "CFATS") expire September 30, 2009, and bills are in the works in both the House (in the Homeland Security and Energy and Commerce Committees) and Senate (in the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee) to extend the law.

Currently, CFATS requires high-risk chemical facilities to complete security vulnerability assessments, to develop site security plans and to implement protective measures as necessary to meet DHS-defined risk-based performance standards. Industry has expressed concern over the potential scope of the new legislation, particularly with respect to any new requirement that covered facilities consider the use of inherently safer technology or the use of safer processes or chemicals, and thirty-four industry organizations have asked Congress to reauthorize CFATS without making any changes to the law.