Chemical Facility Security: Issues and Options for the 113th Congress [September 16, 2014] [open pdf - 641KB]
"The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has statutory authority to regulate chemical facilities for security purposes. The 113th Congress extended this authority through October 4, 2014. Congressional policy makers have debated the scope and details of reauthorization and continue to consider establishing an authority with longer duration. Some Members of Congress support an extension, either short- or long-term, of the existing authority. Other Members call for revision and more extensive codification of chemical facility security regulatory provisions. Questions regarding the current law's effectiveness in reducing chemical facility risk and the sufficiency of federal chemical facility security efforts exacerbate the tension between continuing current policies and changing the statutory authority. Congressional policy makers have questioned DHS's effectiveness in implementing the authorized regulations, called chemical facility anti-terrorism standards (CFATS). The DHS finalized CFATS regulations in 2007. Since then, the site security plans for 900 chemical facilities have been approved in the CFATS process, which starts with information submission by chemical facilities and finishes with inspection and approval of facility security measures by DHS. Additionally, DHS has inspected some facilities for subsequent compliance activities. Several factors, including the amount of detailed information provided to DHS, the effectiveness of DHS program management, and the availability of CFATS inspectors, likely complicate the inspection process and lead to delays in inspection. Policy makers have questioned whether the compliance rate with CFATS is sufficient to mitigate this homeland security risk."
CRS Report for Congress, R42918