Focus Will Shift To Chemical Security
House Democrats are looking to reopen the chemical security debate this fall, adding facilities that were exempted from regulations that became law last year, reports Congressional Quarterly.
The proposal is expected just months after the Department of Homeland Security began implementing chemical security regulations that Congress cleared as part of the fiscal 2007 Homeland Security spending bill (PL 109-295). The regulations took effect in June.
Security experts have complained in recent months that exempting maritime and wastewater facilities from chemical security regulation has created an uneven system.
The new legislation is expected to resemble a bill the House Homeland Security Committee approved in the 109th Congress that never made it to floor consideration. Sources told Congressional Quarterly it would put security of wastewater and maritime facilities — and possibly of hazardous materials transported by rail cars — under control of the DHS rather than the Environmental Protection Agency.
One committee aide said the bill would emphasize use of safer technologies and the need for worker involvement in facility security.
Opposition is expected from some Republicans, as well as industry groups that want the department to be given time to implement the current framework.