Congress Gets an Update on CFATS Implementation


The House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held a hearing this week on progress DHS has made to address the management issues identified in NOV 2011.  GAO was tasked to evaluate reforms and provided insights.  GAO has not finished its report but offered preliminary findings.  The most sobering is that ISCD did not follow the Department’s risk-based tiering methodology when assigning facilities to one of the four CFATS’ risk tiers.  For example, the tiering methodology does not assess vulnerability to an attack or the economic consequences of an attack.  If these elements are added to the methodology, any number of facility tiering determinations could change.  DHS is looking at these findings, but has not committed to changing its tiering methodology.  DHS reported that of the 95 items in the action plan stemming from the NOV 2011 management report, 88 have been completed.  Industry witnesses continued to support the framework of the CFATS program, but were critical of the proposed PSP program, as well as the tiering methodology.  However, under new leadership, the program is improving, and industry supported permanent authorization.  Finally, Green Peace testified, dismissing the program as inadequate and calling for “inherently safer technologies” to be mandated.