Sunday, June 12, 2011

Congressional Hearings Week of 6-13-11

This week both the Senate and House will be in Washington at the same time. This actually results in a decrease in the number of hearings that might be of interest to the chemical security community; this week there will only be two such hearings; both addressing chemical transportation issues. I’ll be watching a third Congressional development this week, the Ag spending bill, for potential chemical security provisions.

Emerging Rail Threat

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a hearing on Tuesday looking at the ‘emerging threats’ to rail security. I suspect that the bulk of the hearing will address people moving issues, but the topic of freight rail security (which is principally a discussion of toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) chemical transportation security issues) will certainly be addressed.

Pipeline Safety

The Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on pipeline safety on Thursday. Scheduled witnesses include PHMSA Administrator Quarterman and representatives from the American Petroleum Institute, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of American and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Industrial safety and security are naturally intertwined, but there is only a very limited chance that pipeline security will be even briefly addressed in this hearing.

AG Budget

This week the House will take up HR 2112, the budget for the Department of Agriculture and related agencies with the House Rules Committee meeting on Monday to formulate the rule. This is not a hot bed of chemical security interest, but the agriculture budget bill has included chemical security provisions in the past, specifically a tax credit provision for reimbursing food producers for chemical security measures in the 2008 bill. With impending (maybe) regulation of ammonium nitrate sales, there may be a similar move for ammonium nitrate producers and distributors.

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