Earlier this week, NACD Member Randy Eppli from Columbus Chemical, along with the association’s own Jennifer Gibson, appeared before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to discuss the importance of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) and the need for Congress to reauthorize this important program.
CFATS is a vital component of the way industry is working with the government to strengthen our national security. Let me give you a few numbers showing the incredible progress that’s been made since it was first created. The program currently covers 3,389 facilities across the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees CFATS, has conducted 3,652 authorization inspections, 3,553 compliance inspections, and another 4,359 compliance assistance visits! Throughout these various inspections and visits, industry works closely with DHS to ensure the security needs of each individual facility are addressed and regularly assessed for further enhancements.
I’ve heard time and again from our members that DHS is one of the most knowledgeable and competent agencies they’ve worked with. That’s why over the last two months the association has undertaken an aggressive grassroots campaign to educate Members of Congress on the need to pass a long-term reauthorization of this program before it expires on January 19, 2019.
First, the association worked with its industry partners, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the American Chemical Society (ACS) along with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to address the importance of the CFATS program during a Congressional Chemistry Caucus lunch briefing on April 20 in the U.S. Capitol. Attendees heard from DHS’s David Wulf, NACD’s Jennifer Gibson, ACS’s Neil Langerman, and BASF Corporation’s Kirsten Meskill about how the program impacts everything from chemical facilities to universities. Nearly 60 attendees from bipartisan House and Senate offices, trade groups, professional organizations, and businesses were present, making this a resoundingly successful event in support of CFATS.
Second, NACD members stumped for CFATS reauthorization during our annual Fly-In at the end of April, securing more than two dozen signatures from Democrats and Republicans in both chambers in a letter penned to Congressional leaders with committees that have jurisdiction over the security program. We’re hopeful this letter will ultimately lead to many more supporters for CFATS legislation on the Hill.
And then this week, as previously mentioned, NACD members and staff appeared before a Senate Roundtable to discuss the importance of CFATS to the industry. Today, Doug Brown, NACD’s Chairman and President & CEO of Brown Chemical, also appeared before the Subcommittee on Environment of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to provide his first-hand account of the value of CFATS to his operations in northern New Jersey.
My hope is that all of these efforts will result in bills to reauthorize CFATS being introduced in the House and Senate in the coming weeks. That way, our members can then weigh in via our ChemReACTions website to spur Congress on in taking up these measures and approving them this fall with the President signing them into law before year’s end.
The fact is, seven or eight months for Congress is like a second in time. Now is when the legislative body must act to ensure CFATS remain intact for the foreseeable future.