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Let’s Spring Forward, Not Fall Back on Chemical Security

One of the country’s important anti-terrorism programs is in jeopardy of expiring in a couple of months unless Congress takes action. The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program is scheduled to sunset on April 18, 2020.

Chemistry is the lifeblood of our economy — directly touching 96 percent of all manufactured goods. Securing and maintaining the economic viability of this critical part of our infrastructure is vital to U.S. prosperity and our national security.

That’s why ACC members have invested more than $21 billion under the Responsible Care® Security Code to further enhance site security, transportation security and cybersecurity at their facilities. It’s also why ACC and its member companies support a host of federal programs that currently regulate all aspects of chemical security, including CFATS.

The CFATS program is one of the primary federal security programs for chemical facilities and provides the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the authority to regulate security at thousands of facilities across the country. The program requires companies to develop and submit comprehensive security plans to DHS for approval that meet 18 performance standards, which cover everything from perimeter security to cyber threats to vetting personnel.

The program also gives DHS the authority to send out inspectors to make sure a facility has taken appropriate steps to address potential security threats.

Thanks in large part to the leadership and commitment of DHS’s Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, David Wulf and his team, the CFATS program has made great strides in helping to enhance chemical security. To date, DHS has completed more than 4,000 Authorization Inspections and almost 6,000 Compliance Inspections.

We cannot squander the hard work and progress that industry and DHS have made to raise the bar for chemical security under CFATS.

ACC has joined with other leading manufacturing groups to ask Congress to take action as soon as possible to preserve CFATS. The collection of groups recently sent a letter to committee leaders in the Senate, Chairman Johnson and Ranking Member Peters and a letter to committee leaders in the House, Chairmen Thompson and Pallone and Ranking Members Rogers and Walden.

We urge Congress to work together on passing a long-term solution for CFATS, which will help our country stay ahead of potential terrorist threats and help keep chemical facilities secure.

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