of chemical security
act disappoints NACD
Nov 10, 2009 2:31 PM
After the US House of Representatives approval of HR 2868, the Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009, the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) issued this statement:
“NACD is disappointed that the House of Representatives has approved HR 2868 in its current form rather than a clean bill to give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) permanent authority to implement the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards. If this legislation is signed into law, it will be detrimental to the chemical distribution industry, negatively impact the supply chain, and have dangerous repercussions throughout our economy.
NACD’s first concern about HR 2868 is the requirement that all covered facilities conduct assessments of methods to reduce the consequences of a terrorist attack, otherwise known as inherently safer technologies (IST). These assessments would be extremely costly for distributors. In addition, because distributors’ manufacturing activities are extremely limited, the assessments would produce limited options that would not justify the cost and effort of the exercise.
NACD is also concerned about the provision in HR 2868 that allows states and localities to adopt and enforce standards more stringent than the federal law. Federal pre-emption is a key element of any effective national security program.
NACD is also concerned about the prescriptive nature of the legislation. Examples include mandates that union representatives be involved in the development of security vulnerability assessments and site security plans and that facilities conduct annual drills and exercises that include local law enforcement and emergency responders. Rather than true risk-based performance standards as set forth by the current CFATS program, these are mandates that may not be appropriate for every facility. For example, the drill requirement could place facilities in the position of being out-of-compliance with the law because not all local emergency response organizations have the time and resources to spend on these exercises and cannot be forced to participate.
NACD urges the Senate to reject the changes made to the CFATS program in this legislation and to simply reauthorize the current program for a minimum of two years. CFATS is a landmark new security program that has been in effect for just two and a half years. Congress should allow these regulations to be fully implemented and evaluated before changing the requirements.”
The first chemical trade association to approve new security measures as part of its Responsible Distribution Process (RDP) management program, NACD has developed a security vulnerability assessment that specifically addresses security issues relevant to chemical distribution facilities.
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