Chemical facility anti-terrorism standards

Greenpeace and allies again attack Koch Industries

Last week saw the release of two reports criticizing Koch Industries for its opposition to heavy-handed regulation of the chemical industry. Greenpeace released a report with highly charged words in its title: "Toxic Koch: Keeping Americans at Risk of a Poison Gas Disaster." Other articles commenting on this were highly sensational, such as this example: "Do the Koch Brothers Want a Toxic Disaster?" Koch Industries has responded to these articles in a response on KochFacts.com website. Among many facts, we can see that Koch companies have received 386 safety awards and 28 environmental awards just since President Obama took office.…
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Chemical security legislation update

The United States Congress is considering legislation to improve the safety of chemical plants. While a noble goal, this regulation has the potential to actually decrease chemical plant safety while increasing costs and destroying jobs at the same time. Currently the proposed legislation is in a senate committee. The following summary of chemical security legislation reports that Senator Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat, may introduce a new bill on this topic. Debate over Chemical Plant Security Moves to the Senate By Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., April 21, 2010 Following the House’s passage of a chemical plant security bill last…
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Chemical safety bill testimony heard

This week the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs heard testimony on S.2996, titled "Continuing Chemical Facilities Antiterrorism Security Act of 2010." This bill would extend the effective date of current chemical security regulations until 2015. In the House of Representatives, a bill has passed that contains provisions for Inherently Safer Technology (IST). The Senate bill does not contain these provisions. IST regulations seek to force companies to replace existing methods and raw materials with those deemed to be safer. But the legislation may not produce its intended effect. Stephen Poorman of the Society of Chemical…
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Citizen lawsuits won’t enhance chemical safety

Legislation currently under consideration in Congress will allow citizens to sue the Department of Homeland Security if they believe that chemical plants are not in compliance with new regulations. The new regulations -- IST, or Inherently Safer Technology -- are troubling enough, in that they may actually work against their stated goal of safety. Allowing citizens to bring lawsuits based on these regulations will create many problems. In a Washington Times piece, two Washington lawmakers explain the risks and dangers that this law will bring about: "... civil lawsuits would necessitate DHS diverting its limited resources from its core mission…
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Chemical plant security should be based on technology, not politics

As Congress considers legislation that would force our nation's chemical plants to make expensive changes in their processes and technologies, we need to make sure that we don't cripple our economy just to appease a small group of environmental activists -- all in the name of purportedly greater safety. That's the danger we face from IST, or Inherently Safer Technology. What could be wrong with a law that contains such a noble goal as safety? It has to do with the complexity of a modern industrial economy providing the backdrop on which unintended consequences develop. A recent article in The…
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Chemical security bill passes committee

On Tuesday, the United States House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee passed H.R. 2868, the "Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009." This bill contains provisions for Inherently Safer Technology (IST). These regulations seek to force companies to replace existing methods and raw materials with those deemed to be safer. But the legislation may not produce its intended effect. Congressional testimony found that this could actually increase risk to the businesses that the bill intends to protect. The problem, as with much government regulation, lies in the unintended consequences. The article Inherently Safer Technology (IST) not always that…
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Good news on chemical security

There's been some good news from Congress recently about Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, or CFATS. The National Association of Manufacturers reports: The Senate last week passed H.R. 2892, the Department of Homeland Security's appropriations bill, which included a one-year extension of department’s authority over security for chemical facilities potentially threatened by terrorist attacks. This one-year extension helps continue the progress that the agency and chemical industry have made in implementing safety and security regulations adopted in 2007, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards. (CFATS). The House has also passed a one-year extension, and the approach is far superior to the permanent…
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Inherently Safer Technology (IST) not always that

Currently Congress is considering new regulations for chemical plants -- Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards or CFATS -- that will, if enacted, require substitution of technologies believed to be less vulnerable to terrorist attack. These regulations would affect facilities in addition to those we usually picture when thinking of chemical plants. The Wichita water treatment plant, for example, could be affected. The problem is that chemical manufacturing and processing is a complicated matter, and mandates that force the use of one chemical instead of another can have consequences that lead to less safety. An example of this may be found in…
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Homeland Security may impose new regulations on agriculture

At the Kansas Meadowlark, there's some video about Chemical facility anti-terrorism standards. The video is from recent Congressional hearings, and is valuable for its explanation of Inherently Safer Technologies, or IST. Click on Homeland Security may impose new regulations on agriculture for the video and commentary.
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Articles of interest

Chemical security, national health care, global warming cost, school order. Extending security standards better decision A letter in the Montgomery Advertiser makes the case for extending the present Chemical facility anti-terrorism standards. Legislation is under consideration that would give government the ability to regulate processes and technologies. "Although we believe CFATS should be reauthorized and made permanent, we do not support current draft legislation that replaces CFATS and extends the power of the DHS to dictate how a product is made. Decisions pertaining to feedstocks, processes and products should be left to the engineers and safety experts at local facilities."…
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