Should another terrorist attack ever be mounted against the United States, chemical facilities are a potential target. Representative Laurel Lee's (R-FL) bill to extend Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) has successfully passed the House and awaits the Senate.
In her House Floor remarks, Rep. Lee gave a description of the CFATS system, wherein chemical facilities in the United States are subject to security standards to prevent or mitigate a terrorist attack, whether physically or cybernetically. The CFATS system was introduced in 2007, with the latest iteration set to expire on July 27th.
"The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, or CFATS program, identifies and regulates high-risk chemical facilities to ensure that they are protected from terrorist attacks. This program must be reauthorized by July 27th to ensure that these standards of protection against cyber and physical risks remain in place," said Lee on the House Floor.
Rep. Lee's bill, named the Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks of 2023, extends the system's deadline to September 30th, 2025.
Additionally, the bill went through the Homeland Security Committee unanimously with bipartisan support. Of course, making sure the security standards of facilities chock-full of deadly chemicals are up to snuff is not necessarily political.
"I applaud the House for working in a bipartisan manner to reauthorize the CFATS Program, ensuring communities across the country can remain protected from terrorist attacks," said Lee in her press release, adding that "Collaboration between industry leaders and the Department of Homeland Security has never been more important with cyberattacks becoming more common. I'd like to thank [Homeland Security Committee] Chairman [Representative Mark] Green (R-TN0 for his leadership and support during the process of moving this bill."
The bipartisanship of Lee's bill comes hot on the heels of another, the OPIODS Act, being worked on by Democrats and Republicans alike. Lee told The Floridian in an interview that she expected the OPIOIDS Act to "ultimately have very broad support in the House and Senate."