Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009 - H.R. 2868

The House of Representatives recently passed the Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2868). The bill increases security requirements at chemical plants and drinking water and wastewater facilities by establishing risk-based security standards for these critical assets. H.R. 2868 reauthorizes the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, which is scheduled to expire October 2010. It also authorizes the EPA to establish similar security programs for drinking water and wastewater facilities.

The Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009:

  • Makes the DHS CFATS program permanent. The legislation strengthens the chemical security program by requiring the review and, in some cases, the implementation of safer technologies, adding enforcement tools, and protecting the right of workers to participate in developing and implementing chemical facility security plans.
  • Authorizes EPA to create a risk-based, performance-based program for the water sector similar to the one established by DHS for chemical plants.
  • Requires the riskiest chemical facilities, drinking water facilities, and water treatment works to assess and, when appropriate, implement methods to reduce the consequences of a terrorist attack (also known as inherently safer technologies).
  • Strengthens the enforcement of the CFATS program by allowing citizens to bring suit against the Secretary of DHS for failure to perform non-discretionary obligations.

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