Jul 23, 2014

House Passes DHA - CFATS Reauthorization Bill for Chemicals via @airish1

Allen Irish (ACA)
On July 8, the U.S. House of Representatives, by voice vote, passed The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014 (H.R. 4007). The bill reauthorizes for three years the Department of Homeland Security's Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, with some policy fixes.
The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies on April 3 passed, by voice vote, the bill introduced on Feb. 5 by Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee and by Rep. Pat Meehan, chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, IP and Security Technologies.
ACA signed on to an industry-coalition letter of support for the legislation, which addresses several important policy goals. First, it provides a multi-year authorization for DHS to confidently implement CFATS and for the industry to make important investments with the certainty that goes along with knowing the program will be authorized. ACA believes that the current practice of year-to-year extensions, or worse, short-term continuing resolutions through the appropriations process, is a destabilizing force in the implementation and investment process. Secondly, the legislation addresses some of the major impediments to completing site security plans and full implementation of the program. It restores the principle that facilities have flexibility to choose how to meet personnel surety requirements for access, gives covered facilities the ability to meet site security plans through alternate security plans approved by DHS and an option to use third parties as inspectors, improves Congressional oversight regarding tiering methodology, and ensures better coordination with state and local officials.
ACA believes multi-year authorization gives DHS just enough guidance to more successfully carry out its duties, while at the same time providing Congress the ability to monitor the program and make any necessary changes to it after the expiration of the multi-year period.
CFATS, which was first authorized under the 2007 DHS Appropriations Act, requires facilities with threshold quantities of particular “chemicals of concern” to complete a “top screen” notifying DHS that they possess such chemicals on site. Once notified, DHS can direct the facility to submit a Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) and then might assign the facility to one of four tiers based on the potential security threat on site, which triggers a requirement to submit a site-security plan (SSP) to DHS for authorization and approval.
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Allen Irish
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