Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lautenberg and CFATS

There is an interesting article on about how Sen. Lautenberg (D, NJ) is using his new ‘temporary’ position as the Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee to bring DHS funding to New Jersey. Nothing new here and Sen. Lautenberg has a long way to go to catch up with his predecessor, the late Sen. Byrd. For more details on Senate earmarks for the DHS Budget see this report. For members of the chemical security community, the most interesting part of the article (unless they are also NJ residents) is found in the last two paragraphs:
“The bill also pressures DHS to prepare a comprehensive risk assessment and national strategy for passenger and freight rail security, and extends chemical plant security standards included in previous DHS spending bills. “Lautenberg plans to introduce a bill this week imposing tougher standards.”
The CFATS extension referenced in the end of the first paragraph quoted here was included in the President’s budget request. Due to the improbability of CFATS legislation passing before the October expiration of the CFATS authority I am glad to see that Sen. Lautenberg is going to include the CFATS extension in the budget bill. It will be interesting to see exactly how he words the section providing the extension. As soon as I see the actual wording of the bill I will let you know how this section is worded. Once again Sen. Lautenberg is promising to introduce a comprehensive CFATS authorization bill, just as he has been promising for the better part of a year. At this point it really doesn’t matter because the bill will likely not see any hearings before November and is even less likely to be voted upon. It really makes no sense since he isn’t up for re-election until 2014; this isn’t a campaign ploy. Maybe he is just trying to keep his name associated with chemical security issues; voters in NJ would count that as an important issue.

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