NACD Outlines Concerns on Chemical Security Legislation

In preparation for an October 14 House Energy and Environment Subcommittee mark-up of H.R. 2868, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act, the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) sent a letter to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee outlining several concerns about the bill.

In the letter sent today, NACD expresses support for legislation that would simply give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) permanent authority to implement the Chemical Security Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), but notes that changes to the program included in H.R. 2868 are premature and that Congress should allow the regulation to be fully implemented and evaluated before changing the requirements. The letter also outlines concerns about several specific issues in the bill.

First, NACD expresses concerns about the requirement that all covered facilities conduct inherently safer technologies (IST) assessments and that facilities in high-risk tiers adopt these measures. NACD says that these assessments would be costly and inappropriate for distributors as these companies generally store, repackage, and transport, rather than manufacture, chemicals. “For most facilities, an IST assessment would likely produce limited options that would not justify the cost and effort of the exercise itself. In cases where distributors might be required to reduce inventories of certain products, this would prevent these companies from effectively addressing their customers’ needs,” wrote NACD Vice President of Government Affairs Jennifer Gibson.

The letter also notes concern about the prescriptive nature of the legislation. For example, NACD points out that the requirement to conduct periodic drills and exercises that include local law enforcement and emergency responders could place facilities in the position of being out-of-compliance with the chemical security regulations because the local emergency responders do not always have the time and resources to spend on these exercises and cannot be forced to participate. NACD expresses support for the concept of such drills and exercises and urges the Committee to allow for flexibility in this area.

In addition, NACD states opposition to the provision in H.R. 2868 to allow citizen lawsuits for perceived non-compliance, arguing that the civil and administrative penalties that DHS can impose are incentive enough to comply with the law. An additional concern raised in the letter regards the provision that allows states and localities to adopt and enforce standards more stringent than the federal law. NACD notes that federal preemption is a key element of any effective chemical security program.

For a copy of the entire text of the letter, visit http://www.nacd.com/advocacy/comments.aspx.

NACD was the first chemical trade association to approve new security measures, as part of its management program, the Responsible Distribution ProcessSM(RDP), and has developed a security vulnerability assessment that specifically addresses security issues relevant to chemical distribution facilities. NACD members have invested millions of dollars and substantial resources to safeguard their facilities and the transportation of their products.
 
NACD and its nearly 250 members have established themselves as leaders in health, safety, security, and environmental performance through implementation of the Responsible Distribution Process (RDP), established in 1991 as a condition of membership in NACD. Incorporated as a condition of membership in January 1999, NACD members undergo third-party on-site RDPV – RDP Verification. For additional information, visit NACD’s Web site — http://www.nacd.com.

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