Chemical facilities security measures extended

Legislation to extend federal security measures that govern America’s chemical facilities for three years recently passed through the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine), along with Senators Mary Landrieu (D- Louisiana), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas), co-sponsored the bill that extends the Department of Homeland Security program requiring high-risk chemical facilities to comply with strict federal standards.

The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program sets 18 risk-based performance standards that chemical facilities are required to meet in order to continue operations. They cover a wide-range of potential vulnerabilities, including perimeter security, access control, theft, internal sabotage and cyber security.

"Chemical facilities understand they are a ripe target for terrorists, and this program has enabled them to address security vulnerabilities that may exist," Senator Pryor said. "This bipartisan legislation lets DHS and chemical plants continue to build on a successful program."

The law, seen as a landmark in collaboration between the federal government and chemical plants partners, has been in effect for four years so far, and has been viewed as largely successful.

"Simply put, the program works and should be extended and I am pleased the committee agreed," Senator Collins said. "Chemical facilities are tempting targets for terrorists. The Department of Homeland Security has done a good job developing a comprehensive chemical security program. It has yielded a successful collaborative, risk-based security framework - providing a model for other security-related programs."