In late July, Congress allowed a valuable program that enhances security at chemical facilities across the country to expire. The program is called the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), and its primary mission is to protect chemical facilities from potential terror threats by addressing a wide range of possible vulnerabilities, including cyberattacks.
CFATS provides an avenue for the public and private sector to cooperate through a uniform, national program that ensures chemical facility security. The continuity of the program provides the certainty required for considerable planning and investment decisions that are needed to protect both our facilities and our surrounding communities. When this program operates, it provides facility risk assessments, guidance to companies about their security plans and, importantly, it allows our facilities to vet personnel against the national terrorist screening database. Each month 9,000 new personnel are vetted against the database—a significant reason to urge the Senate to approve H.R. 4470, the Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act of 2023. This bill, which passed the House 409-1 on July 25, will restore this critical program.
For 15 years, industry and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have successfully worked together to develop and implement the CFATS program, which many consider the gold standard for chemical security. The resources offered by CFATS combined with industry’s own multi-million-dollar investments in security collectively ensure U.S. chemical facilities and refineries are able to access the best tools to protect against potential terrorist threats. Without CFATS, our facilities have lost access to some of those tools.
Today, more than ever, our industries remain committed to providing the best security possible while we wait for the Senate to vote to reinstate the program. Protecting our nation’s critical refining and petrochemical infrastructure is a shared responsibly that AFPM and our members take seriously, and the CFATS program is an essential part of that. Reauthorizing CFATS is a must.
The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) is the leading trade association representing the makers of the fuels that keep us moving, the petrochemicals that are the essential building blocks for modern life, and the midstream companies that get our feedstocks and products where they need to go. We make the products that make life better, safer and more sustainable — we make progress.