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NACD Raises Several Concerns about Chemical Security Legislation

In preparation for a March 6, 2008, full House Homeland Security Committee mark-up of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act, the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) sent a letter to the committee members outlining several concerns about the bill.

In the letter, NACD expresses support for legislation that would simply make permanent the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) authority to implement the Chemical Security Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), but notes that changes to the program included in the bill before the committee are premature and that Congress should allow the CFATS to be fully implemented and evaluated before changing the requirements. The letter outlines concerns about several specific issues in the legislation.

First, NACD notes that the requirement to conduct periodic drills and exercises that include local law enforcement and emergency responders could place facilities in the position of being out-of-compliance with the chemical security regulations because the local emergency responders do not always have the time and resources to spend on these exercises and cannot be forced to participate. NACD expresses support for the concept of such drills and exercises, and urges the Committee to allow for flexibility in this area.

The letter also expresses concerns about the section of the bill that allows states and localities to adopt and enforce standards more stringent than the federal law unless these measures are in direct conflict, and argues that federal preemption is a key element of any effective chemical security program. An additional concern raised in the letter is the authorization to use third-party entities to review and approve/disapprove security vulnerability assessments and site security plans and to inspect facilities. NACD argues that only federal government employees should be allowed to perform these functions.

The final concern outlined in the letter 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, and that facilities in high-risk tiers adopt these measures. NACD argues that the appropriate role of security laws and regulations is not to dictate industrial processes and that significant regulations and incentives already exist for facilities to use the safest materials and methods possible in their operations.

For a copy of the entire text of the letter, visit /advocacy/comments.aspx.

NACD was the first chemical trade association to approve new security measures, as part of its management program, the Responsible Distribution Process (RDP), and has developed a security vulnerability assessment that specifically addresses security issues relevant to chemical distribution facilities. NACD members have invested millions of dollars and substantial resources to safeguard their facilities and the transportation of their products.
Entire text of the letter:

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