Tuesday, June 15, 2010
SOCMA News on CFATS
There are two interesting Tweets this evening from the SOCMA Fly-in event in Washington D.C.; the first about comments from Sen. Collins (R, ME) about CFATS legislation and the second about comments from Rep. Lungren (R, CA) about IST provisions in CFATS legislation. Of course, given the character limit in these communications, there is little additional detail provided. CFATS Mark-up Hearing While I have been saying for some time that I thought that CFATS legislation was essentially stalled in the Senate, Sen. Collins, the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee apparently told the SOCMA gathering that there could be a CFATS markup hearing as early as next week. While a markup hearing is still a long way from getting a bill to the floor and through conference, it is still much more progress than has been made to date on stand alone CFATS legislation. Of course, the Senate Committee has a very poor track record of getting from a markup hearing to actually publishing a report on controversial legislation. For example S. 1649, the WMD bill co-sponsored by Lieberman and Collins was marked-up in November and the bill has still not been reported. The other unanswered question in the Tweet is which CFATS legislation will be marked up. There is the House passed HR 2868, the Collins introduced S 2996, and the yet to be seen DHS version. And of course Sen. Lautenberg (D, NJ) has been threatening to introduce CFATS legislation for over a year now. Though to be fair, a Lautenberg bill would not get marked up in the Homeland Security Committee next week. IST in CFATS The Lungren Tweet urges the SOCMA attendees to continue to apply pressure on Congress to keep IST out of CFATS. Rep Lungren’s opposition to IST is hardly news, but it is indicative of the continuing controversy surrounding this issue. This is probably the key issue that will hold up the ultimate passage of CFATS legislation this session. Lungren’s position does not take into account the current efforts in DHS-ISCD to consider administratively adding an IST reporting requirement to the current CSAT SSP tool. I’ve reported on this in the current issue of the Journal of HAZMAT Transportation (Vol 21:1, pg 12). Nor does it reflect the work being done by ISCD and the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCSP) to address the issue of IST being a safety tool not a security tool; the two organizations are trying to define limited security related tools for evaluating IST proposals. Continue to Watch the Senate In any case, it sounds as if we may have some sort of movement on CFATS reauthorization in the coming weeks. I will certainly share any news that I hear.