Chairman Carper Welcomes Administration Steps to Improve Safety and Security of Nation’s Chemical Facilities

WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) welcomed President Obama’s Executive Order to help improve the safety and security of our nation’s chemical facilities. In June, Chairman Carper sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano and Deputy Undersecretary Spaulding regarding the explosion at the West Fertilizer facility in West, Texas. This fall, Chairman Carper will continue his oversight work on chemical security, including by holding a hearing to examine relevant issues such as the Department of Homeland’s Security’s role in regulating chemical facilities, what lessons can be learned from recent incidents, and how the federal government is meeting the timelines and action items laid out in today’s Order. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has the responsibility to oversee the proper implementation and execution of the Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards program.

“While chemicals play an important role in many aspects of our daily lives from healthcare to our economy, we must ensure that they are being produced, distributed, and stored in a manner that is both safe and secure,” said Chairman Carper. “The recent tragic events in Texas and Louisiana are a stark reminder of the enormous damage many chemicals can cause if not handled properly.  These incidents have also exposed serious regulatory gaps and overlaps that reveal, in some instances, the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. Federal, state, and local governments must do a better job of working together so that we are better able to anticipate, prevent, or - if necessary - respond to similar incidents at high-risk facilities moving forward. Today’s Executive Order takes some important first steps to make that happen. As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I will continue to work with my Congressional colleagues and the Administration, including the Department of Homeland Security, to examine the impact and efficiency of existing security regulations on chemical facilities and identify whether additional steps should be taken to protect the public from those who might use these volatile substances to do us harm.” 

For more information on the President’s Executive Order, please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/08/01/executive-order-improving-chemical-facility-safety-and-security