The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) applauded the U.S. House of Representatives approval of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Program Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014 (H.R. 4007) on Tuesday, July 8, 2014. The bill provides a three-year authorization for the CFATS program, along with other legislative fixes to the program. H.R. 4007. This bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), passed the U.S. House of Representatives by voice vote with bipartisan support.
ARA applauds House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul and Subcommittee Chairman Meehan for their leadership on this important legislation. H.R. 4007 reauthorizes the current CFATS program for an additional three years, creating regulatory certainty for the ARA members and the entire agricultural community. This bipartisan legislation also provides for a more workable Personnel Surety Program and will hold the Department of Homeland Security to a higher level of accountability. H.R. 4007 is consistent with recommendations provided in a report issued by an interagency working group under the Executive Order 13650: Improving Chemical Facility Safety & Security.
ARA was the first organization to urge Congress to pass a multi-year reauthorization bill in order to provide more regulatory certainty for the chemical industry and address unnecessary and potentially duplicative federal regulatory requirements. CFATS is currently funded to October 1, 2014. ARA and a broad industry coalition sent a letter to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives to request their support for H.R. 4007. ARA welcomes this legislative victory in the House and urges the Senate to quickly approve similar bipartisan legislation.
On October 4, 2013, the authorization for CFATS expired leaving an absence of CFATS regulatory authority for DHS to administer or enforce the program. During the time of the federal government shutdown DHS had no statutory authority to require security measures at high-risk facilities and exposed vulnerabilities of attaching the program to annual funding bills.