Chemical security law goes beyond protection


Congress is about to consider legislation that, on the surface, seems like it implements an important goal. Its name — Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards — suggests something that no one could oppose.

The proposed legislation, however, would extend government control into another of our nation’s most important industries. It would require companies to change their manufacturing processes and substitute products in the name of safety. But the legislation may not produce its intended effect. As the letter below states: “Congressional testimony found that this could actually increase risk to the businesses that the bill intends to protect.”

If you need to know just how bad this bill is, consider that the Center for American Progress, founded by Herbert M. Sandler and Marion O. Sandler, is squarely behind it.

Radical environmentalists seek to destroy American industry any way they can. Using an unimpeachable issue — our national security and anti-terrorism — to advance their goals is just another of their tools.

Following is a letter from a coalition of industry groups that explains some of the issues surrounding this legislation.

Dear Member of Congress,

We represent American businesses and local city services that provide millions of jobs and our national infrastructure. Protecting our communities and complying with federal security standards is a top priority for us.

We support straightforward legislation to reauthorize the DHS chemical facility security standards enacted by Congress in 2006. We also support Congress enacting into statute the regulatory framework that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) carefully established and is now enforcing, known as the “Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards.” Removing the sunset date and making the chemical security regulations permanent would provide the certainty needed to both protect our citizens and enable our economic recovery.

However, we strongly urge you to oppose disrupting this security program by adding provisions that would mandate government-favored substitutions, weaken protection of sensitive information, impose stifling penalties for administrative errors, create conflicts with other security standards or move away from a performance (or risk-based) approach.

For example, last year’s “Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act” could have caused disruptions of new federal security standards and reduced jobs in the short term, and in the long term weakened infrastructure protection and economic stability.

Our top concern is that legislation could go beyond security protections by creating a mandate to substitute products and processes with a government-selected technology. Congressional testimony found that this could actually increase risk to the businesses that the bill intends to protect. Such a standard is not measurable and would likely lead to confusion, loss of viable products, prohibitive legal liability, and business failures.

We ask that you ensure that any security legislation avoid overlap and conflict with existing federal security requirements, such as the U.S. Coast Guard’s “Maritime Transportation Security Act.” Any proposal must also protect from release any sensitive security information on site vulnerability.

Companies in thousands of communities are complying with the landmark new DHS chemical security standards while continuing to provide essential products and services for our daily lives. We believe that counter-productive adjustments to the current law would undermine security and endanger businesses in communities all around the country. Thank you for your consideration of our views.

Update: Let your elected representatives in Washington know about this legislation. Send them a message by clicking here.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.