ARLINGTON, Va., July 8, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation that would provide a three-year authorization for the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, which aims to safeguard chemical facilities from the threat of terrorist attack. The National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) welcomes this legislative victory and encourages the Senate to approve similar legislation to ensure the security of our nation's chemical facilities.
Introduced by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014 (H.R. 4007) passed in resounding bipartisan fashion.
First enacted in 2006, the program has continued to be funded in recent years through riders to appropriations bills. As a consequence, the program actually ceased to exist during the government shutdown in October 2013. "Such a result falls far short of the robust national system of readiness needed to prevent terrorist acts," said NACD Vice President of Legislative Affairs John Shanahan. "Authorizing the law for three more years will prevent irresponsible outcomes like we saw last October."
Despite past challenges and false starts, the Department of Homeland Security has made significant progress in the last 18 months in overseeing the program. NACD believes delivering a predictable time period for the agency to continue its progress will provide the confidence for a longer term or permanent extension. While properly limiting the bill's primary focus to extending the program, H.R. 4007 provides the industry flexibility in how facilities vet individuals for terrorist ties and how they meet risk-based performance standards through the implementation of site security plans. The legislation would also increase efficiency in the site security plan approval process.
"We applaud House leadership for recognizing the importance of this critical legislation in bringing it for a vote today," stated NACD President Eric R. Byer. "Congressman Meehan's tireless efforts to strengthen national security and provide certainty to the chemical distribution industry are a testament to his commitment to protecting our communities while ensuring a healthy business environment. NACD now urges the Senate to take up legislation that would cement the hard-fought gains the House accomplished today."
NACD and its nearly 430 member companies are vital to the chemical supply chain providing products to over 750,000 end users. NACD members are leaders in health, safety, security, and environmental performance through implementation of Responsible Distribution, established in 1991 as a condition of membership and a third-party verified management practice. For more information, visit www.NACD.com.
Contact: Matthew McKinney
SOURCE National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD)