The backlog of chemical facility security plans will take about half as long as anticipated for the Homeland Security Department to eliminate, said the head of the department's National Protection and Programs Directorate.
Democratic lawmakers on the House Homeland Security Committee raised misgivings about the CFATS reauthorization bill during a subcommittee hearing on the newly proposed legislation.
An outcome of the chemical facility executive order signed by President Obama Aug. 1 could be a consolidated federal database of chemical facilities, a Homeland Security Department official told a House panel while blaming technological difficulties for past inability to share data across organizational lines.
It will take the Homeland Security Department between about 7 to 9 years at its current rate to complete the approval process of the security plans submitted via the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program, estimates the Government Accountability Office.
The risk methodology is largely based on the consequence to human life that the release or theft of a chemical would cause or on the consequence to lives by sabotage, the GAO says. Watchdog officials find multiple faults with the methodology. Consequence assessment should also consider the direct economic effects, for example, auditors say.
The Homeland Security Department resumed in July inspections of facilities that store or use hazardous chemicals under its Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program, said Rand Beers, head of the department's National Protection and Programs Directorate. Beers spoke Sept. 11 during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on environment and the economy.
Homeland Security Department officials emphasized progress in a troubled program overseeing chemical facility safety before a skeptical audience of Republican lawmakers during a Feb. 3 hearing. "Bad