Friday, July 30, 2010

Senate Committee Approves Amended H.R. 2868

This week the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee unanimously approved an amended version of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009 (H.R. 2868) offered by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). The amended bill, which is very similar to legislation (S.2996) Sen. Collins introduced to the Senate in February of this year, removes H.R. 2868’s Inherently Safer Technology (IST) and citizen suit provisions, and rather than making the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) permanent, would only extend the program in its current form for another three years (through October 4, 2013).

Earlier this month, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced a new bill, “Secure Chemical Facilities Act” (S. 3599) in the Senate. That bill, which has been referred to the Senate Homeland Security Committee, is similar to the original version of H.R. 2868 (i.e., includes provisions for IST and citizen suits). However, it is unlikely that the Lautenberg bill or the Collins amendment will make much progress before the August recess. Rather, it seems inevitable that CFATS will once again be extended in its current form for one year through the 2011 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, which is currently being marked-up by the House Appropriations Committee.

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