Policymakers are struggling to find solutions to address one of the biggest threats that our country has ever faced – the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is another threat to America’s safety and security that Washington must address too. Thankfully, the solution for addressing this crisis is readily available.
It simply requires Congress to pass legislation that would prevent the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) from expiring on July 23rd.
ACC and its member companies have testified in favor of keeping CFATS in place many times in the past. And, our organization continues to be a strong proponent of having a federal security program in place to help protect chemical facilities, especially in light of the critical role the chemical industry has played in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As ACC’s President & CEO, Chris Jahn notes:
“Congress must act quickly to save CFATS. The past few months have demonstrated how vital the chemical industry is to the health and stability of our nation on a daily basis, and why it’s so important to have a strong regulatory program in place to help protect it. We are asking that Congress do its part to keep the country safe so we can continue to do ours.”
CFATS is vital to national security and to the safety of our industry because it helps ensure that chemical facilities that are at a high risk of a potential attack are taking appropriate steps to safeguard their employees and communities. The program provides a consistent national standard and as a result, communities across the country are safer. Companies benefit too by having a single standard to follow rather than having to contend with a patchwork of state programs.
The program has demonstrated that it can deliver solid results thanks in large part to the leadership and commitment of the folks at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) who manage CFATS. In fact, DHS has completed more than 4,000 Authorization Inspections and almost 6,000 Compliance Inspections under CFATS. The program has also helped serve as a key point of communication and collaboration for industry to work with the federal government during the COVID-19 response.
Simply put, allowing this program to disappear would be a great loss and be a great concern to communities across the country. That’s why a large collection of executives from ACC member companies sent a letter calling on Congress to act quickly and pass a long-term extension of CFATS. Just letting CFATS fade away is not an acceptable option – Congress must act to save it.