Assembly Homeland Security Committee Chair Annette Quijano applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for approving the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Authorization and Accountability Act (H.R. 4007) last week and urged the U.S. Senate to quickly follow suit in the interest of national security.
Quijano introduced a measure in the state Assembly last month urging Congress to enact the measure in order to strengthen the security of chemical facilities and address the vulnerability of the chemical sector to terrorist attacks.
“This is a critical piece of legislation when it comes to protecting our citizens as a whole,” said Quijano (D-Union). “The manufacturing, use, storage, and distribution of chemicals must be secured from threats, such as terrorism. The impact of a terrorist attack on certain high risk chemical facilities is far reaching and has the potential to cause a catastrophic number of deaths and injuries.
“The last thing we need is for stolen chemicals from these facilities to be turned into a weapon for terrorists to use in a later attack. Ensuring chemical security is critical to the well-being and safety of our citizens.”
The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program was established by the 2007 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act and has been extended on a year-to-year basis. The program granted the Department of Homeland Security the authority to regulate high-risk chemical facilities in order to ensure that these facilities have security measures in place to reduce the risks associated with the chemicals.
The program uses a multi-tiered risk assessment process to identify and regulate high-risk chemical facilities by requiring them to meet and maintain performance-based security standards appropriate to the facilities and the risks they pose.
The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014, which passed the House last Tuesday, reauthorizes the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program with certain changes, including authorizing the program for multiple years, thereby allowing the Department of Homeland Security to confidently implement the provisions of the program. The measure now awaits consideration by the Senate.