The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection & Security Technologies approved a bill (H.R. 901) that would extend the Department of Homeland Security's Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards another seven years.

The extension would provide important continuity for the chemical industry and for the federal government and allow CFATS to be fully implemented, said Subcommittee Chairman Dan Lungren (R-Calif.). Implementation is slower than desired, but CFATS is working, he asserted. While there may be problems, Congress should extend the current system and not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, he added.

“It is critical that we extend this regulatory authority so that DHS can continue to secure chemical facilities through the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program,” Lungren said.  “H.R. 901 reaffirms Congress’ commitment to fight terrorism and improve security at our Nation’s chemical facilities while preserving the ability of the chemical industry to be competitive, remain innovative and create well-paying jobs.”

Congress first authorized DHS to regulate security at high-risk chemical facilities in 2006.  In response, DHS developed the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), which require high-risk chemical facilities to complete Security Vulnerability Assessments, develop Site Security Plans, and implement protective measures necessary to meet risk-based performance standards established by DHS. 

The measure now moves to the full Homeland Security Committee.