Friday, September 7, 2018

S 3405 Introduced – CFATS Authorization

On Tuesday Sen. Johnson (R,WI) introduced S 3405, the Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act of 2018. The bill will reauthorize the current Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program for regulating the security at selected high-risk chemical facilities for a period of 5 years.

In general, the bill continues the current CFATS program, but it does make some changes to the program. Those changes will affect the current:

• Risk-based performance standards (see earlier post);
• Expedited approval program;
• Frequency of inspections and audits;
• Personnel surety program;
• Coverage of facilities with explosive chemicals of interest (COI); and
Small covered chemical facilities.

Additionally, the bill would add a new CFATS recognition program and new congressional reporting requirements on the CFATS program.

Moving Forward

The current CFATS program expires in January and there appears to be a consensus in DHS, Congress and the regulated community that the program should be extended for a significant period of time. Johnson is the Chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee which obviously means that this bill will receive consideration by that Committee. It is too early to tell how much support there will be for this specific language, but I suspect that there will be substantial attempts to amend this bill when it is considered in Committee.

This bill (or a House version yet to be introduced) will not make it to the floor of the Senate before the November elections. Depending on how the election goes and what other pressures arise a reauthorization bill will be very likely be considered before the end of the year; whether it is this bill, a House bill, or some sort of amendment in the DHS spending bill has yet to be determined.


I am already getting a lot of questions about provisions in this bill and many of those provisions deserve a detailed explanation and analysis. As I have already demonstrated by my first blog post on this bill, I have some strongly held views about the reauthorization process, the provisions of this bill and the CFATS program in general. With that in mind, I can see now that I will be doing a number of posts about a number of provisions of this bill. That is why this post is so short. More will be coming….

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