Tuesday, March 5, 2024

CFATS Page Update – 3-5-24

Once again, CISA has updated the landing page for the officially defunct Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program. Hoping against continued Senate inaction {or more appropriately, opposition of Sen Rand (R,KY)} that the program will be resurrected, CISA moves the standard fare of the pre-termination page further down the page and inserts additional material urging the reinstatement of the program.

The two earlier attempts on the page to push for resurrection (CFATS Announcement and CFATS Lapse Impacts) have been shrunk with ‘READ MORE’ prompts to reveal their former glory. Three more similarly sized, but non-expandable, blocks have been added:

• 89 Million People Within Two Miles,

• Communities At Risk,

• Every Day Without CFATS Program Is Too Long

The short-on-information blocks refer back to themes that CISA Associate Director for Chemical Security Kelly Murray has been pushing assiduously since the program was allowed to lapse thru congressional inaction due to the aforementioned opposition of Sen Paul.

While Murray and the many industry supporters of the chemical security regulatory program have long hoped for the Senate to officially take up and pass HR 4470, it is becoming increasingly clear to even the most ardent supporters (and I include myself in that group) that Sen Paul has no intention to backtrack on his poorly stated opposition to the program. More importantly, it is clear that his sole voice in opposition is sufficient to overcome the support of the vast majority of both houses. At this point, HR 4470 must be considered to be dead.

As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, while program authorization has been officially terminated, funding for the program has been continued each time that Congress has passed a continuing resolution keeping the Federal government funded at FY 2023 levels. That continued funding is currently slated to terminate on March 22nd. By that date, it is fervently hoped, that Congress will pass a second (of course the first has not yet been considered) spending minibus bill that would provide funding for the Department of Homeland Security.

At this point, Murray et al must place their hope for the CFATS program on that spending bill. At the very least, it must continue spending for chemical security to keep any hope for the program alive. More importantly, it could provide for a specific reauthorization of the program that is tied to the funding for DHS, a move I have long suggested. 

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