06 June 2008 03:27 [Source: ICIS news]
PALM DESERT, California (?xml:namespace>
Jack Gerard, president of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), said congressional consideration of legislation to extend or replace the existing Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) likely will get bogged down in congressional jurisdictional issues and election year campaign business.
That means that the Senate and House will have to come to agreement on a new anti-terrorism plan for US chemical facilities quickly in the new year because the existing legislative mandate expires at the end of 2009.
The principal chemical site security measure now pending in the US House, HR-5577, is viewed by industry as burdensome because it expressly allows individual states to enact their own, tougher chemical security laws and because it mandates the use of inherently safer technology (IST) as a security measure.
The existing site security regulations, now being implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), bar state regulations that conflict with or frustrate the federal rules, and they make no provision for inherently safer technology.
HR-5577, the “Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2008,” would give the department authority to shut down any regulated high-risk chemical facility that refused to implement IST mandates ordered by the department, such as elimination or reduction of specific feedstocks or the use of lower temperatures and pressures in production.
Gerard said that while the pending legislation will be the subject of hearings next week, “a House discussion of this legislation is unlikely to see resolution in this year”.
“We’re likely to see a more serious consideration next year,” Gerard said.
Gerard spoke at a press conference held during the council’s annual business meeting, where it was announced that Gerard is leaving the chemical trade group later this year to head the American Petroleum Institute (API).
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