Senate Panel Examines Current State of Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program

WASHINGTON- Today, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) heard from government officials and private sector stakeholders on the current state of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program, or CFATS. 

To secure our nation’s chemical facilities from the risk of a terrorist attack, Congress authorized CFATS in 2006. The program requires DHS to develop risk-based performance standards for chemical facilities, and allows these facilities to tailor their security measures to the specific risks they face. At today’s hearing, members and witnesses discussed the progress the program has made since its inception, as well as remaining challenges. The panel noted that analytical mistakes and some management failings have impeded CFATS’ full success since its authorization but identified opportunities for streamlining and improving the program, and underscored the need for a longer-term authorization for the program.

“Today’s hearing shed valuable light on some of the most critical challenges facing the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program,” said Chairman Carper. “Over the past year, the Department of Homeland Security has authorized and approved hundreds of security plans so that today, more than 3,000 facilities have eliminated, reduced, or modified their holdings of dangerous chemicals.  Despite this recent progress, implementing this program has been no easy feat, and it has hit quite a few bumps in the road.  As I often times say, if it’s not perfect, make it better, which is why I will continue to work with DHS, using the insight gained from today’s hearing, to make this program more effective and our communities safer.” 

For more information on today’s hearing, “Charting the Path Forward for the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program,” including a full video recording, please click here.