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Senate Panel Approves CFATS Extension

Lawmakers voted unanimously to approve an amendment from Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009.

Washington, DC – Legislation that would make existing chemical security standards permanent took a major step forward today, winning bipartisan support in the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Following a markup, lawmakers voted unanimously to approve an amendment from Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009 (H.R. 2868).

SOCMA commended the committee’s endorsement of the amendment, which would extend the existing Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) by three years to October 4, 2013 and give chemical facilities and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) time to more fully implement the regulation, rather than significantly altering the existing rules.

“The chemical industry is well along in implementing the current chemical security regulations, which are rigorous, enforceable and protective of the American public,” said SOCMA President and CEO Lawrence D. Sloan. “We thank Senator Collins for this extension, which gives chemical manufacturers and DHS valuable time in which to continue to strengthen protections against attack and more fully assess the effectiveness of the entire CFATS program.”

“Today’s vote is a clear sign of bipartisan support from the committee for the voluntary and CFATS-related efforts by the chemical industry. Senator Collins agrees that these efforts have improved our nation’s security,” said Sloan. “We look forward to working with the Senate to move towards permanent reauthorization of chemical security regulations.”

The amended bill also would:

  • direct DHS to develop voluntary exercise and training programs to improve collaboration with the private sector and other stakeholders;
  • establish a voluntary technical assistance program allowing DHS to provide non-binding recommendations or assistance to covered facilities at the request of the owners/operators of those facilities;
  • create a chemical facility security best practices clearinghouse at DHS; and
  • establish a chemical facility security advisory board to advise DHS on CFATS implementation and the voluntary technical assistance program.

SOCMA helped secure bipartisan passage of the bill with its testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, as well as its Washington Fly-In, at which over 30 members met with their representatives in Congress to discuss this issue.

The next step in the legislative process for this bill is consideration by the full Senate. For more information about SOCMA’s position on chemical site security, visit