25 April 2003 20:16 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (CNI)--The Senate Republican leadership plans to introduce legislation next week that will require chemical manufacturers to assess and address vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks, according to a draft of the bill obtained by CNI.
The Chemical Facilities Security Act of 2003 will not include measures in legislation introduced by Senator Jon Corzine (Democrat-New Jersey) last year that are opposed by the chemical industry.
Unlike Corzine’s bill, the Republican legislation does not require that facilities use "inherently safer technologies," there is no mention of substituting less toxic chemicals, and it does not give the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority over safety at chemical facilities.
The draft bill gives the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) oversight authority over chemical security. Manufacturers would be required to submit security plans to the DHS.
Under the draft legislation, DHS could disapprove a security plan and require specific revisions. Failure to submit a plan or to comply with a DHS order to implement security changes could be punished by a civil penalty of up to $500 000 (Euro454 545). The department also would have the authority to impose an administrative penalty of up to $250 000 for failure to comply with an order.
The legislation exempts chemical security plans from the Freedom of Information Act and prohibits unauthorised disclosure of the plans. Government officials who "knowingly or recklessly" disclose such information could face a year in jail and removal from federal office or employment.
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