Senate Amendment to H.R. 4007, Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act of 2014

H.R. 4007

Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act of 2014

Date
December 11, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Thursday, December 11, 2014, the House will consider the Senate Amendment to H.R. 4007, the Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act of 2014. H.R. 4007 was introduced on February 6, 2014 by Representative Pat Meehan (R-PA). H.R. 4007 passed the House on July 8, 2014 by voice vote. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs ordered the bill to be reported with a substitute amendment on September 18, 2014. The bill was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate.

Bill Summary

Changes made to H.R. 4007 by the Senate amendment.

  • Authorization for the program is extend from three years to four years. (Funding remains unchanged).
  • Expedited Approvals Process. The Senate amendment creates an optional expedited approval program to provide faster approval of lower risk chemical facilities’ site security plans. Under the optional program, lower risk facilities may develop security plans based on prescriptive guidance developed by DHS. The language sets strict deadlines for participating in the program, and strict deadlines for DHS to evaluate expedited approval plans.
  • Limited Involvement of Facility Workers and Labor Representatives with Security Expertise. The Senate amendment allows minimum facility worker involvement in the site security planning process, limiting the involvement to only one facility worker (and one union representative where applicable), and requiring workers to have relevant security expertise – as determined by facility management.
  • Whistleblower Protections. The Senate amendment requires the Secretary to establish a procedure by which an employee or contractor of a chemical facility may submit a report regarding a violation of CFATS requirements, or a deficiency or vulnerability at a facility that is associated with the risk of a terrorist incident. The amendment also provides due process protections for industry, providing for notice with specificity and an opportunity for review.  Additionally, an order will terminate automatically if the Secretary fails to respond within the allotted timeframe.  Final agency action on an emergency order provides a facility the right to appeal the Secretary’s emergency order in federal court.
  • Emergency Shutdown Authority. The Senate amendment makes clear that the Secretary can issue an immediate emergency order if the risk of a terrorist incident creates an “imminent threat.” The use of emergency orders is limited to the extent necessary to abate an imminent threat. The change also provides due process to protect facilities from the Secretary abusing the emergency order authority and provides administrative and judicial relief in case of disagreement. A final agency action on an emergency order would provide a facility the right to appeal the Secretary’s emergency order in federal court.

Background

A summary of H.R. 4007 can be found here.

Cost

“Based on amounts requested for the CFATS in fiscal year 2015 as well as information from DHS, CBO estimates that continued implementation of CFATS would require appropriations of $87 million in 2015 and slightly higher amounts in fiscal years 2016 through 2018 after accounting for the effects of inflation. Assuming appropriation of the estimated amounts, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 4007 would result in outlays of $349 million over the 2015-2019 period.”[1]

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[1] http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45704

Additional Information

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