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May 02, 2013

Ranking Members Thompson and Waxman Urge President to Establish Blue Ribbon Commission on Chemical Facility Security

(WASHINGTON) – Today Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to establish a Blue Ribbon Commission to examine industrial chemical facility security, in light of the recent tragic explosion at the West, Texas fertilizer plant. The Energy and Commerce Committee and the Homeland Security Committee have jurisdiction over the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, a risk-based, performance-based regulatory program for high risk chemical facilities.

Recent reports by the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Government Accountability Office have found that the program is failing. The facility in Texas was required to submit information to DHS pursuant to the CFATS program. Yet the required information was never submitted, DHS took no action, and DHS was unaware of this facility or that it had chemicals of concern at levels above the regulation threshold. Last year, DHS began to address flaws in the CFATS program but a fundamental review of how to address the security of these facilities is essential to protecting those who live and work near chemical facilities.

Link to Letter

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Media Contact:
(Thompson) Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978
(Waxman) Karen Lightfoot/Elizabeth Letter at (202) 225-5735