Senator introduces CFATS extension bill

HMN - Senator introduces CFATS extension bill

Originally published on Security Infowatch

Proposed legislation would extend program for another three years.

Last week, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) introduced a bipartisan bill (S. 4096) that would extend the Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism (CFATS) program for three years. The CFATS program, which requires chemical manufacturers and distributors follow certain security protocols based upon the types of substances they produce, their proximity to population centers and a variety or other variables, is set to expire later this month.

“CFATS — a critical component of our nation’s national security efforts — is vital to ensuring the chemical industry and regulators work together to keep our nation’s chemical facilities secured against potential acts of terrorism,” Eric Byer, CEO of the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD), said in a statement.  “NACD applauds the introduction of legislation that would provide a multi-year extension lasting through July 27, 2023. Passage of this important bill would provide regulators and industry alike the certainty needed to continue administering and implementing this program for the foreseeable future.

“While we understand the intense political pressure placed upon Congress right now because of COVID-19, they cannot allow this program to sunset. It must be a priority for elected officials to reauthorize this program for the long term to ensure that chemical facilities and communities are protected from potential acts of terrorism,” continued Byer. “We therefore urge the immediate passage of S. 4096 that would keep CFATS in place for many years to come. Leaders in Congress on both sides of the aisle should prioritize CFATS reauthorization so this program can continue to serve as a powerful tool to keep our nation, businesses, employees, and communities safe from the threat of terrorism.”

The bill, which is cosponsored by Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), James Inhofe (R-Okla), and Thomas Carper (D-Del.), has been referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs for further action.