Senate Committee Reports Much Anticipated CFATS Authorization Legislation
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee reported a revised version of HR 4007, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program Authorization and Accountability Act, with bipartisan support. The bill provides a 4-year authorization for the program and a sunset clause which will prompt close oversight of the program. The House-passed version provides a permanent authorization, with 3-years of appropriations. Another major difference between the House and Senate versions is a process in the Senate bill that would allow facilities in tiers 3 and 4 to request expedited processing by self-certifying compliance with applicable standards. Of most importance to IME, the Senate version includes provisions from the House bill meant to reform the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed Personnel Surety Program. The bill would allow facilities to satisfy personnel surety requirements with other federal vetting programs that check against the terrorist screening database. IME congratulates Chairman Tom Carper(D-DE) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-OK) for their work to find the right balance of enhancements to the CFATS program to enable this legislation to move forward.