Peters, Capito, Carper & Lankford Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Secure Chemical Facilities Against Terrorist Attacks

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tom Carper (D-DE), and James Lankford (R-OK) introduced bipartisan legislation to extend the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, which is set to expire on July 27th. The program was created after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and ensures that facilities holding high-risk chemicals have security measures in place to reduce the risk of chemicals being stolen or weaponized by terrorists. 

“Commonly used chemicals can pose significant risks to public health and safety if they get into the wrong hands,” said Senator Peters. “By preventing this vital anti-terrorism program from expiring, this bipartisan legislation will help protect our national security and ensure the Department of Homeland Security has the tools and resources it needs to prevent terrorists from weaponizing chemicals to attack the United States.” 

“Over the past several years, I have worked so that this program is both authorized and funded at levels to ensure the safety of chemical facilities across this country. By coming together in a bipartisan way, we are demonstrating the importance of our nation’s efforts to support a regulatory framework that strengthens our ability to prevent these facilities from being vulnerable to terrorists,” said Senator Capito. 

“Protecting our nation from terrorist threats is vitally important, and that includes ensuring that our nation’s chemical facilities are secure,” said Senator Carper. “When I was chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, we worked hard to pass this bipartisan legislation to provide the Department of Homeland Security with the essential resources they need to safeguard our nation’s chemical facilities from security threats. I’m proud that we are working to reauthorize the CFATS program by introducing this bipartisan legislation today.”

“The types of chemicals protected by the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program are the same chemicals used in the OKC domestic terrorist bombing in 1995,” said Senator Lankford. “We have to make sure these dangerous chemicals don’t fall into the wrong hands or get exploited by terrorists. We must maintain these critical protections for our national security, and I am glad to join Senator Peters to once again reauthorize this important program.”

The CFATS program, which is managed by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), identifies and regulates chemical facilities that are vulnerable to terrorist exploitation. Facilities that are regulated by CFATS must report what chemicals they store to CISA and, if deemed high-risk, the facility then develops a plan to address three main security issues: release, theft or diversion, and sabotage. As of May 2023, CFATS covers approximately 3,200 facilities. The senators’ Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act would extend this vital anti-terrorism program for five years.

The CFATS program was created after national security experts recognized a security vulnerability among chemical facilities following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing. These facilities often store substances that can threaten the safety of our communities if deliberately misused. In fact, terrorists are more likely to use industrial and other commercially available chemicals, many of which are found in facilities across the United States, than sophisticated nerve agents such as sarin due to their widespread prevalence, relatively simple pathway to weaponization, and potential to cause serious harm. CFATS has been extended with bipartisan support by Congress four times – including most recently in 2020 through efforts led by Peters, Lankford and Carper. 

Below are statements in support of the senators’ bipartisan legislation:

“Dow appreciates and supports Chairman Peters’ 5-year ‘clean’ reauthorization of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program,” said Louis A. Vega, President, Dow North America and Vice President, Government Affairs & Advocacy. “Focusing on a multi-year reauthorization provides the certainty, stability and continuity needed to protect facilities from emerging threats. We thank cosponsors Capito, Carper & Lankford and look forward to a quick and bipartisan passage to support and reauthorize this vital program before it sunsets on July 27th.” 

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce welcomes Sen. Gary Peters’ important legislation to reauthorize the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program for five years. The Department of Homeland Security, which administers CFATS, and industry have worked diligently for many years to cultivate relationships that enhance the security and resilience of America’s chemical facilities. Chemical enterprises are significant contributors to the American economy and are at the forefront of the development and implementation of robust risk management practices,” said Christopher D. Roberti, Senior Vice President, Cyber, Space, and National Security Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We commend Chairman Peters and his colleagues for providing businesses with the certainty that they need to make smart planning and investment decisions. The Chamber urges Congress to pass this clean CFATS renewal legislation before the program sunsets on July 27, 2023.”

“Facility security is a top priority for BASF, and we applaud the introduction of legislation that would reauthorize the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program for five years. BASF values the CFATS program, as it establishes a management system whereby industry, emergency responders, and regulatory authorities work together to manage security risks effectively and efficiently,” said Catherine Trinkle, Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Regulatory of Environmental & Government Affairs, BASF Corporation. “The longevity of this program is key to ensuring the highest level of protection for our facilities and the communities in which we live and work.”

“The Lubrizol Corporation thanks Chairman Peters for proposing a reauthorization of the Federal Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS). CFATS is a proven program which helps protect our employees and communities by setting pragmatic security standards for chemical facilities,” said John Uhran, Senior Director Government Affairs and Sustainability, Lubrizol. “We ask that Congress provide regulatory certainty and stability by supporting a multiyear reauthorization before the current standards expire.”

“Brenntag North America applauds Chairman Peters for his continued focus on chemical security and supports a clean, long-term reauthorization of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standard (CFATS) program,” said Matt Fridley, Sr. Director of Security & Safety, Brenntag North America, Inc. “As the most regulated CFATS company, Brenntag believes the CFATS program has made the chemical industry and our nation much more secure. From the time of the program’s establishment in 2007, the industry has invested significant capital and training resources towards enhanced or augmented security measures at our facilities. A longer-term, multi-year reauthorization of the program will provide the industry the certainty that is needed to continue to invest in security measures to counter emerging threats.”

“We commend Chairman Peters for his commitment to national security and to protecting the chemical industry, which is vital to the health and well-being of our nation. CFATS has helped industry and the federal government enhance security for chemical facilities, workers and communities and has proven to be a practical and effective regulatory program,” said Chris Jahn, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Chemistry Council (ACC). “ACC and its members support stability for the CFATS program, and we urge Congress to act quickly to prevent these important safeguards from expiring.”

“As one of the most successful chemical security programs in existence, with Congress providing resounding support reauthorizing the program four times previously, approving a clean, long-term Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program reauthorization is critical. The CFATS program serves a vital role to our industry by protecting our nation’s high-risk chemical facilities from acts of terror and providing the industry with the stability needed to make important investments,” said Eric R. Byer, President & CEO, National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD). “Unlike many programs that can be reauthorized retroactively, the CFATS program will cease to exist if it is not reauthorized before it expires, leaving our nation without this important safeguard against potential acts of terrorism. NACD commends Chairman Peters for his commitment to securing our nation’s high-risk chemical facilities and wholeheartedly supports this measure to ensure that the CFATS program remains in place for years to come.”

“AFPM supports a 5-year clean reauthorization of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, which expires July 27, 2023. The CFATS program should continue without interruption to ensure regulatory certainty and continue the protection of our nation’s critical infrastructure,” said Chet Thompson, President and CEO, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). “Any lapse in authorization of the program during this time of heightened security concerns and needed security awareness would be unwise and irresponsible. The security of our refining and petrochemical facilities is of extreme importance to our members and our nation, and AFPM members have invested significant capital, training and resources to comply with CFATS and enhance security measures at their facilities.”

“ARA strongly supports Senator Peters’ legislation to reauthorize the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program for an additional 5 years,” said Daren Coppock, President and CEO, Agriculture Retailers Association.“If Congress does not act by the end of July 2023, this program will expire and create regulatory uncertainty for agricultural retailers, manufacturers, and others regulated by this important DHS security program. The CFATS program, which was first authorized in 2007, is a coordinated effort between industry and DHS to protect high-risk chemical facilities from the threat of terrorists and other criminal acts. A long-term reauthorization provides our industry with the certainty it needs to make the necessary facility investments to mitigate security threats.” 

“TFI strongly supports a 5-year clean extension of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program. The CFATS program must continue without interruption to ensure regulatory and program certainty,” said Corey Rosenbusch, President and CEO, The Fertilizer Institute.“The current Congressional authorization for CFATS expires July 27, 2023. Any lapse in authorization of the CFATS program would subject our members to additional uncertainty in an already volatile agricultural market. The security of facilities is paramount to the fertilizer sector.”