Friday, December 11, 2009

Reader Comment – 11-09-09 – SSI Final Rule

On Wednesday a reader, JBennett, posted a response to my blog about the DHS chemical security agenda. Where I questioned the inability to move the security reporting rule forward in the next six months, JBennett questions why another rule was not projected for action. JBennett wrote:
“What about making the SSI rule final? Why the inability to even decide when they might try? I can't imagine there will be wholesale changes, although it would be nice to have the distribution limitation statement updated to reflect that TSA is now in DHS, not DoT [sic], and to eliminate the requirement to waste ink by putting it on EVERY page.”
JBennett has an interesting point. The Interim Final Rule was published (69 FR 28066) and became effective in the early summer of 2004. Five and a half years is a long time for an interim rule without there being at least a plan to replace it with a final rule. Of course, TSA is not required to address the comments received on the IFR until the final rule is published. With only 28 comments originally submitted on the IFR docket (TSA–2003–15569), it is unlikely that avoiding the need for addressing the comments is the reason for the delay. It could be that TSA is waiting for Congress to finish addressing the SSI vs CSB issue. This was partially and (in my not so humble opinion) inadequately addressed in §561 of the DHS FY 2010 appropriations bill. There is one other pending bill that addresses this issue, S 1274, but that bill was the basis for the §561 language so it will probably never see any additional action. In fact, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has never even submitted their report on the legislation; even though it was approved, ‘as amended’, by that committee on July 21st. Who knows, maybe the new Obama Administration regulatory transparency initiative will provide some answers about the lack of movement on this regulation. Then again, it may not; ‘transparency’ is such a subjective term.

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