Senior Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Protect Chemical Facilities

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On June 16, 2009, Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection Chairwoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), and Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced H.R. 2868: The Chemical Facility Antiterrorism Act of 2009. This vital legislation makes the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) permanent and enhances the program by making facilities, as a part of their vulnerability assessments, analyze how they can change their internal processes to reduce the consequences of a terrorist attack at their facility.

Chairman Thompson released the following statement:

This legislation will help ensure that this vital industry, and the population that lives around these facilities, are safe and secure. After years of work and discussions with key stakeholders, we have produced a comprehensive and common-sense chemical security bill.

Chairman Waxman released the following:

Chemical facilities are often terrorist targets because of the lethal chemicals they use and store onsite. This bill will protect workers at and neighbors of chemical facilities by asking the highest risk facilities to switch to safer chemicals and processes when feasible. I will also continue working with members of the Energy and Commerce Committee to complete legislation to give EPA the authority to require strong security standards for our nation’s drinking water facilities.

Chairwoman Jackson-Lee added the following statement:

I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of this important legislation that will work to close a threatening vulnerability that was only made more real by the attacks of September 11, 2001, and other international incidents over the past several years. As the Chairwoman of the subcommittee with oversight over this important program, I believe that we have worked in a bipartisan manner with all relevant stakeholders, including DHS, to author a bill that builds on the current program in order to best protect this Nation.

Chairman Markey released the following statement:

By requiring the highest-risk facilities to switch to safer chemicals or processes when it is economically and technologically possible to do so, this legislation will make our communities less vulnerable to a terrorist-designed Bhopal in Boston, Baton Rouge or Buffalo.

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