Greater Congressional Oversight Will Improve CFATS Implementation
As a key congressional panel examined the implementation of the nation’s chemical security rules, the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) expressed its support for stronger federal oversight of the regulatory program while warning against overreaction in pursuit of improvements.
SOCMA believes more congressional oversight of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) will ensure that federal resources steered toward securing facilities against terrorism are used effectively.
“We have been encouraged by the progress Congress has made toward extending the existing standards,” said Bill Allmond, SOCMA’s vice president of government and public relations. “Unfortunately, that progress has not been matched by the Department of Homeland Security in its implementation of CFATS over the past year.”
The Department of Homeland Security, which administers the program, recently identified several challenges in implementing the program. Despite these hurdles, CFATS has produced positive results, such as driving facilities to reduce hazards. For example, more than 2,000 facilities since 2007 have changed processes or inventories such that they are no longer considered high-risk under CFATS.
“In pursuit of improvement, it is important for Congress to differentiate between the administrative challenges experienced by this young regulatory program and the appropriateness of the standards themselves,” Allmond said. “The solution to fixing these problems is not by abandoning the standards.”
SOCMA believes regulatory certainty over the program provided through long-term reauthorization by Congress will help protect against repeat problems in program implementation. Reliance on temporary extensions and one-year appropriations riders is not a responsible substitute for oversight, which is why we strongly support the 112th Congress’ efforts to date to ensure such regulatory certainty.
For more information, please read SOCMA’s statement on today’s House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on CFATS.