Thursday, March 14, 2013

Another Update on the CFATS Hearing – 3-13-13

The Environment and the Economy Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee has updated their page concerning today’s upcoming hearing on the CFATS program. An additional witness has been added and the testimony of many of the witnesses is already available well in advance of the hearing.

New Witness

In my last update on this hearing, I noted that it was odd that the public panel for this hearing did not include anyone from the environmental activist community. The new witness added on Tuesday is a well-known representative from that community, Rick Hind, the Legislative Director for Greenpeace. As anyone who has followed Rick’s writings would expect, he definitely raises the issue of inherently safer technology (IST) in his testimony. Since his group and their allies speak for a significant portion of the populous of the country, it is appropriate that his voice is heard at this hearing.

Beers Testimony

Given the political reality of the current make-up of the House, the testimony of DHS Under Secretary Beers will have much more impact on the deliberations of the Energy and Commerce Committee as it begins the process of addressing the status of the CFATS program. The tenor and organization of this testimony is quite different than what we have come to expect in the last couple of years.

I’ll go into more details in the coming days, but here are some important highlights that will certainly be discussed in the hearing and around the country later today.

Total #
Authorized SSP
Approved SSP

This is a tremendous improvement over what was reported last September (pg 2).

Rick Hind will be happy to hear that Beers is reporting that nearly 3,000 chemical facilities “have eliminated, reduced, or otherwise made modifications to their holdings of potentially dangerous chemicals and are now no longer considered high-risk” (pg 2).

ISCD expects to publish a 60-day information collection request (ICR) of the long overdue personnel surety program next week.

ISCD has been upgrading the training of their Chemical Security Inspectors to allow them to be able to effectively perform the cybersecurity inspections required to evaluate the RBPS # 8 portion of the site security plan evaluations.

Watch the Hearing

It looks like it will be an interesting and possibly informative hearing. If you have a chance watch the web cast of the hearing on the Committee Web site. If like me you’ll be otherwise occupied come back at a later date and watch the web cast from the hearing page. And, of course, I’ll be having more to say about the hearing in the coming days.

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