Monday, June 8, 2009

Congressional Hearing Schedule Week of June 8th

Congress is back in full swing this week, but there appears to be little in the way of hearings about chemical security matters. The House Homeland Security Committee looking at the Coast Guard budget on Thursday (11:00 am); this will be of some interest to chemical facilities and transportation interests governed by MTSA. The Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee will be doing a mark up of the DHS budget this evening (5:00 pm) and the full committee will hold a mark-up on Friday (9:00 am). CFATS is a very small part of bill (no bill number yet). It will be interesting to see if §538 gets mentioned in either hearing. CFATS Reauthorization I keep hoping to see the House Homeland Security and Energy and Commerce Committees start their hearings on the re-authorization of CFATS. I keep hearing conflicting reports on the status of the agreement between these two committees. The most contentious issue there is how to deal with water treatment and waste water treatment facilities that have large quantities of DHS Chemicals of Interest like chlorine gas and anhydrous ammonia. Energy and Commerce would like to see these remain under the supervision of the EPA (to maintain their Congressional oversight) while the Homeland Security Committee would like to see the security of the chemical side of those operations fall under CFATS. A draft of the CFATS authorization that I have seen (dated back in April) showed essentially a re-write of HR 5577 without the language about water treating facilities. At the end of that draft is the heading for a separate title for water treatment facilities, but the meat of that title is missing. If anyone can provide me with a working copy of either the Homeland Security or Energy and Commerce Committee drafts I would certainly appreciate it.

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