Monday, May 16, 2022

Review - S 4166 Introduced – Technological Hazards

Earlier this month, Sen Portman (R,OH) introduced S 4166, the Technological Hazards Preparedness and Training Act of 2022. The bill would require FEMA to “maintain the capacity to provide States and local governments with technological hazards and related emerging threats technical assistance, training, and other preparedness programming to build community resilience to technological hazards and related emerging threats.” The bill would authorize funding at $20 million per year through FY 2024.

Moving Forward

Portman is the Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration. Portman certainly has the influence to see this bill considered in Committee. I would like to think that this bill would receive bipartisan support in Committee, though I am not sure that that will be the case. I suspect that there will be some Republican opposition because this sounds like it could be an environmental justice bill and would certainly be labeled as such if it had been introduced by Sen Warren or Sen Markey, both Democrats from Massachusetts.

In any case, even if this bill were moved through the Committee, it would never make it to the floor of the Senate. The bill is too small and ‘unimportant’ to be considered under regular order and there are a number of Senators that could be expected to object if offered under the unanimous consent process.


When this bill was introduced, I noted the odd phrasing used to describe the program: “support communities containing technological hazards and emerging threats” and I commented that: “on the off chance the ‘technological hazards and emerging threats’ include cybersecurity issues, I will be watching this bill when it is published.” Boy was I off-base. Instead of cyber issues this is about CBRN hazard planning and it is about time that someone put the responsibility for that in the hands of FEMA and not the EPA.

Unfortunately, because of the odd wording, this bill is unlikely to get serious consideration. That combined with the lack of specific direction and the very small budget ($20 million for just two years???) even if this were to pass it would not even be as effective as the EPA’s LPCs and very few of those have accomplished anything.

But, the fact that it is Portman that offered this bill instead of an environmental bomb thrower, does make me stop and hope that this is a sign that perhaps chemical emergency response planning (and yes, the remainder of the CBRN panoply) may start to receive some serious attention.


For more details about the provisions of the bill, see my article at CFSN Detailed Analysis - - subscription required.

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