Incoming House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Takes Aim at IST

U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., reportedly promised to remove any requirement that CFATS-covered facilities use inherently safer technologies once he becomes chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in January.

The Republican congressman set to chair the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee beginning in January 2011 has said he'll offer a CFATS reauthorization bill that does not require covered facilities to use inherently safer technologies (IST). This would please chemical manufacturers and differs from H.R. 2868, the reauthorization bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives a year ago, which would require facilities to evaluate IST and would give DHS the authority to impose IST on high-risk facilities.

The bill, which has been bottled up in the U.S. Senate since its passage in the House, would extend CFATS standards to drinking water and wastewater facilities.

U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., is the committee's ranking member. He announced Nov. 8 that he will be its chairman in the 112th Congress and discussed his priorities for its work.

ICIS news, an online news service for the chemical industry reported Nov. 8 that King said he does not favor imposing IST in the reauthorization bill his committee will take up in 2011. He listed these priorities:

  • Conduct effective oversight of DHS operations and ways to give the intelligence community and law enforcement agencies the tools they need to identify and combat domestic radicalization.
  • Stop the Obama Administration's plans to transfer Guantanamo detainees, like admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his co-conspirators, to the U.S. and put them on trial in civilian courts, and holding hearings on the president's plans to close Guantanamo.
  • Hold hearings on the attack at Fort Hood.
  • Work with the Department of Homeland Security to improve cargo security on passenger planes and on cargo-only planes.
  • Enact additional border security legislation to curb illegal immigration.
  • Strengthen the Securing the Cities Initiative to protect more Americans from radiological and nuclear devices.
  • Bolster national cybersecurity by fortifying the defenses of federal networks and promoting partnerships with the private sector to protect against cyberattack.
  • Pass a comprehensive Department of Homeland Security authorization bill to provide DHS with necessary guidance, tools, and resources to help protect our homeland from terrorist attack.
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