Legislative Approaches to Chemical Facility Security [December 29, 2005]   [open pdf - 161KB]

"Federal officials, policy analysts, and homeland security experts express concern about the current state of chemical facility security. Some security experts fear these facilities are at risk of a potentially catastrophic terrorist attack. The Department of Homeland Security identifies chemical facilities as one of the highest priority critical infrastructure sectors. Current chemical plant or chemical facility security efforts include a mixture of local, state, and federal laws, industry trade association requirements, voluntary actions, and federal outreach programs. Many in the public and private sector call for federal legislation to address chemical facility security. Still, disagreement exists over whether legislation is the best approach to securing chemical facilities, and, if legislation is deemed necessary, what approaches best meet the security need. Many questions face policymakers. Is the current voluntary approach sufficient or should security measures be required? If the latter, is chemical facility security regulation a federal role, or should such regulation be developed at the state level? To what extent is additional security required at chemical facilities? Should the government provide financial assistance for chemical facility security or should chemical facilities bear security costs? […] In some cases, proposed legislation complements existing law, while in others overrides it. In the 109th Congress, H.R. 1562, the Chemical Facility Security Act of 2005, H.R. 2237, the Chemical Security Act of 2005, and S. 2145, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2005, contain provisions requiring vulnerability assessment and the creation of security plans, though details vary. This report will discuss current chemical facility security efforts, issues in defining chemical facilities, policy challenges in developing chemical facility security legislation, and the various policy approaches. This report will be updated as circumstances warrant."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33043
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