The choice belongs to Congress: to extend or expand on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) rules, set to expire this fall. Retailers can make a difference in that decision, according to the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA).
Set to expire on Sept. 30, DHS CFATS rules establish security standards and requirements for “high risk” chemical facilities, which include many agricultural retailers and distributors. U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) has introduced the “Chemical Facility Security Authorization Act” (HR 2477), which simply extends authorization for the current program through Oct. 1, 2012.
However, many well-funded anti-chemical activist groups currently are pressuring Congress to expand these rules, which would result in additional regulations and significant compliance expenses to be imposed on many ag retailers, including ARA members.
Anti-chemical activist groups want Congress to change CFATS rules to include provisions that would mandate industry to utilize inherently safer technologies (ISTs), allow for citizen suits, weaken protection of sensitive security information, impose stiff monetary penalties for administrative errors, and create conflicts with other existing federal security standards, ARA says.
The House Homeland Security Committee has tentatively scheduled a vote on chemical security legislation for this Thursday, June 18.
ARA urges members to contact Congress and request their support and co-sponsorship of HR 2477. Click here to contact your member of Congress.
“We need Congress to hear from you on the importance of extending the current DHS CFATS rules,” an ARA press release states. “This could prevent counter-productive provisions that will have an adverse economic impact on American agriculture and disrupt the cooperative working relationship between industry and DHS.
Contact Richard Gupton, ARA vice president of Legislative Policy & Counsel, at 202-457-0825 or [email protected] with questions or to request additional information.