Chemical Security Heats Up in the Senate

It appears that the Senate Homeland Security Committee is planning to hold more hearings at the end of July to consider next steps in the chemical security legislation process.  On July 15, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced S 3598 and S 3599 as companion measures to House legislation (HR 2868) that passed last fall.  S 3598 amends the SDWA and Clean Water Act to authorize EPA to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemical release risks from water and wastewater systems.  S 3599 deals with reauthorization of the sunsetting CFATS requirements.

Last March, the Committee held a hearing on S 2996, Continuing Chemical Facilities Antiterrorism Security Act of 2010, as introduced by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).  Her proposal essentially would continue current CFATS requirements for five years.  S 2996 does not speak to adding drinking water and wastewater utilities to the list of covered entities nor does it speak to the concept of inherently safer technologies (IST).

Although conventional wisdom would have deemed the Lautenberg legislation as the most likely candidate for baseline consideration; the twist comes with the understanding that two Democrat Senators – Mark Pryor (AR) and Mary Landrieu (LA) – have already endorsed the Collins bill.  This complication could make things very interesting over the next week or two. 

The Library of Congress weblink to House and Senate legislation (THOMAS – has not yet posted the text for either of the Lautenberg measures.  However, ASDWA expects that the bills will be posted within the week.  As always, ASDWA will monitor the legislation and keep you informed as events unfold.


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