Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Update on Chemical Facility Security Hearing

The House Homeland Security Committee web site now has a listing of witnesses scheduled to appear before the Friday hearing that I described in yesterday’s blog. As we would expect, Under Secretary Beers will be providing an update on the CFATS implementation.

Private sector witnesses will include:

● Mr. Timothy J. Scott, Chief Security Officer & Global Director of Emergency Services & Security, Dow Chemical Company

● Dr. M. Sam Mannan, PhD, PE, CSP, Director, Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center, Chemical Engineering Department, Texas A&M University

● Mr. George Hawkins, General Manager, D.C. Water
It is interesting to see Dr. Mannan and Mr. Hawkins on the witness list. It would not have been surprising to see them in the last session of Congress. Dr. Mannan would be expected to talk about inherently safer technology and Mr. Hawkins would address chemical security issues at water treatment plants. Since both of those topics are supposedly off of the agenda for the new leadership of the House Homeland Security Committee, their attendance is unexpected. I am certainly looking forward to hearing their testimony and listening to the questions they receive from the Committee.

The other interesting thing about the witness list is the question of who, if anyone, will sit at Sec. Beers side at the witness table. At every other chemical security hearing that he has participated in he has been accompanied by Sue Armstrong as the subject matter expert he relied upon to answer detailed questions about he CFATS implementation. Since it now appears that Ms. Armstrong has been permanently moved up and out of ISCD and the hiring process is on-going for a permanent director (and assistant director) for that organization, it will be interesting to see who fields the detailed questions for Mr. Beers on Friday.

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