H.R. 4007, The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014

H.R. 4007

The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014

Date
July 8, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, July 8, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 4007, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 4007 was introduced on February 6, 2014 by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and was referred to the House Committees on Homeland Security and Energy and Commerce.  The bill was marked up by the Homeland Security Committee on April 30, 2014 and was ordered reported, as amended, by voice vote.[1]  The bill was discharged by the Energy and Commerce Committee.

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[1] House Committee Report 113-491, Part I.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4007 authorizes the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Program for three years at current funding levels.  The bill authorizes appropriations of $81 million for each of fiscal years 2015-2017.  Pursuant to CFATS, the Secretary must establish risk-based performance standards designed to protect chemical facilities from terrorism, and must require such facilities to submit security vulnerability assessments and develop and implement site security plans.

H.R. 4007 makes programmatic improvements to CFATS, including “fixing the program’s risk assessment methodology; developing an efficient and workable Personnel Surety requirement; ensuring that the full universe of chemical facilities is known to the Department; and drawing down the tremendous backlog of facility inspections [the DHS Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (ISCD)] currently faces, among other things.  Moreover, H.R. 4007 requires GAO to conduct an ongoing assessment of ISCD’s progress in implementing these directives throughout the course of the authorization term.”[2]

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[2] Id. at 8.

Background

“Chemical facilities continually rank among the highest-risk targets for terrorists because an attack on a chemical facility could result in large-scale physical damage and catastrophic loss of life.  To protect against this threat, Congress in 2007 authorized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a set of risk assessment standards for chemical facilities, and to implement a set of corresponding regulations to ensure the physical security of those at highest risk.  The result was the [CFATS] program, which was established and funded for three years under Sec. 550 of Pub. L. 109–295, the Homeland Security Appropriation Act of 2007.”[3]  Despite its establishment through such appropriations rider, CFATS has technically never been authorized.

Following the establishment of CFATS, ISCD struggled for five years to implement the program effectively.[4]  Both GAO and the DHS Office of the Inspector General identified barriers that had prevented ISCD from effectively carrying out the program, including mismanagement and a lack of metrics by which to assess the program’s effectiveness.[5]  In recent years, new leadership within ISCD has made improvements consistent with GAO and OIG recommendations, making significant progress.[6]  These improvements have included “enhanced engagement with the regulated community and industry stakeholders; a streamlined Site Security Plan review process; stronger coordination with State and local chemical facility regulators and fellow Federal agencies to identify outlier facilities; and the development of a solid plan to increase the pace of site security authorizations, approvals, and inspections.”[7]  In recognition of these and other improvements, H.R. 4007 authorizes CFATS in the short term, giving stability to the industry, while allowing Congress to continue providing oversight and accountability to improve the program.

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[3] Id. at 7.
[4] Id. at 7-8.
[5] Id. at 8.
[6] Id.
[7] Id.

Cost

According to CBO estimates, implementing H.R. 4007 would cost $427 million over the 2015-2019 period.  The bill would have an insignificant impact on revenues and would not affect direct spending.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.