Supporting Security: Reauthorizing CFATS
Earlier this year, Congress narrowly avoided allowing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program to sunset by passing a short-term 15-month extension of the program’s expiration date.
Given the circumstances, the passage of the last-minute extension was a major legislative success. Nevertheless, in order to pass a multi-year reauthorization and avoid a similar situation come April 2020, it is imperative Congress commit to working together in a timely manner to ensure the security of the nation.
There is a history of positive collaboration between DHS and CFATS-covered facilities to achieve the program’s mission of preventing the intentional misuse of specific Chemicals of Interest through theft, sabotage, or attack. NACD members are quite familiar with the work DHS puts into its outreach and support of the CFATS program.
CFATS is a critical program aimed at keeping dangerous chemicals out of the hands of terrorists. In the past, Republicans and Democrats have worked together to reauthorize CFATS and make improvements to the program. We all hope the tradition of bipartisanship on this issue can continue as we work toward a multi-year reauthorization. CFATS has been a successful program because it gives industry flexibility to secure their facilities, with guidance from DHS, based on each facility’s unique risks and attributes.
Fortunately, we have a solid program that works well as a starting point. Only small tweaks are needed to make an already good program better. With a bipartisan and bicameral process, Congress can quickly give stakeholders the certainty they need by moving a multi-year reauthorization of CFATS to the President’s desk.
Jillian W. Cimo
Coast Southwest, Inc.