US Senate committee approves bill to extend chemical security law

30 June 2011 03:03  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved a three-year extension of federal mandate for anti-terrorism security measures at chemical plants.

The committee approved S.473 to extend Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), which is currently scheduled to expire this year. 

CFATS sets 18 risk-based performance standards that high-risk chemical facilities must meet. These security standards cover a range of vulnerabilities, such as perimeter security, access control, theft, internal sabotage, and cyber security.

The bill received bipartisan support and was co-sponsored by senators Susan Collins (Republican-Maine), Mary Landrieu (Democrat, Louisiana), Rob Portman (Republican-Ohio) and Mark Pryor (Democrat-Arkansas).

The bill also includes voluntary training programmes to improve collaboration with the private sector and state and local communities, a voluntary technical assistance programme for chemical facility owners and operators, and the creation of a best practices clearinghouse and private sector advisory board to aid in the implementation of the programme.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) praised the bill’s passage.

However, the bill does not include an inherently safer technology (IST) mandate that was originally sought by committee chairman Joe Lieberman (Independent-Connecticut).

In theory, IST is aimed at measures at specific plants, in theory to reduce a site’s attractiveness as a target by limiting the volume or altering the nature of feedstocks, and/or by forcing changes in production processes or even end products.

Legislation to extend CFATS by seven years already has been passed by House committees.

By: Brian Ford
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