Chemical Facility Security: Issues and Options for the 112th Congress [November 30, 2012] [open pdf - 461KB]
"Even before September 11, 2001, congressional policymakers expressed concern about the safety and security of facilities possessing certain amounts of hazardous chemicals. The sudden release of hazardous chemicals from facilities storing large quantities might potentially harm many people living or working near the facility. Historically, chemical facilities engaged in security activities on a voluntary basis. Following September 11, 2001, some states enacted laws requiring additional consideration of security at chemical facilities. Congress debated whether the federal government should reduce the risk such facilities pose by regulating them for security purposes. In 2006, the 109th Congress passed legislation providing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with statutory authority to regulate chemical facilities for security purposes. Subsequent Congresses have extended this authority. This statutory authority expires on March 27, 2013. The Obama Administration has requested a one-year extension of this authority until October 4, 2013. Both FY2013 homeland security appropriations bills (S. [Senate bill] 3216 and H.R. 5855) would extend the existing authority until October 4, 2013. Advocacy groups, stakeholders, and policymakers have called for congressional reauthorization of this authority, though they disagree about the preferred approach. Congress may extend the existing authority, revise the existing authority to resolve potentially contentious issues, or allow this authority to lapse. This report provides a brief overview of the existing statutory authority and implementing regulation. It describes several policy issues raised in previous debates regarding chemical facility security and identifies policy options for congressional consideration. Finally, it discusses legislation in the 112th Congress."
CRS Report for Congress, R41642