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Inherently Safer Technology (IST)

SOCMA has been leading the industry’s position on inherently safer technology for years, most recently during the movement in Congress  to consider mandating IST through site security regulations. Below are examples of our efforts to educate policymakers and the general public about the importance of IST but also how it has been misunderstood and, in some cases, misused, to advance alternative agendas in Washington and elsewhere.

Few terms in chemistry are as misunderstood as “inherently safer technology.”  While ostensibly self-explanatory, the term as used in chemistry and engineering is not as easily understood by non-scientists.  IST is a conceptual framework that covers chemical processing procedures, equipment, protection, and, when feasible, the use of safer substances.  Many people have been led to believe that the only road to inherent safety is by way of reducing the amount of hazardous chemicals used in manufacturing and processing.  IST, however, is limited by the laws of physics; a simple reduction in the use of hazardous chemicals is often not possible or may only result in the redistribution of risk, without actually reducing it.

Testimony of Matthew J. Leary Corporate EHS&S Manager Pilot Chemical Company On Behalf of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates
before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy on The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program – A Progress Report
, September 11, 2012

Testimony of William E. Allmond, IV, Vice President of Government and Public Relations, Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, before the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, & Security Technologies on “The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program: Addressing Its Challenges & Finding a Way Forward”, March 6, 2012.

SOCMA Public Statement to House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy for its hearing On  “Evaluating Internal Operation and Implementation of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program (CFATS) by the Department of Homeland Security,” February 3, 2012.

Letter by SOCMA President & CEO Larry Sloan to House Speaker Boehner Urging Vote on Legislation Extending CFATS, October 19, 2011.

Letter by SOCMA President & CEO Larry Sloan to Senate Majority Leader Reid Urging Vote on Legislation Extending CFATS, October 19, 2011.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Approves 3-Year Extension of Chemical Security Rules, June 29, 2011

Letter by SOCMA President & CEO Larry Sloan to Senators Lieberman and Collins, urging passage of The Continuing Chemical Facilities Antiterrorism Security Act of 2011 (S. 473), June 28, 2011.

Second Bipartisan Chemical Security Bill Clears House Committee, June 22, 2011.

SOCMA Applauds House Energy & Commerce Committee Approval of 7-Year Chemical Security Rules Extension, May 26, 2011.

SOCMA Welcomes Second House Panel Vote Extending Chemical Security Rules, May 4, 2011.

Key House Panel Approves Extension of Chemical Security Rules, April 14, 2011.

SOCMA President Lawrence Sloan Op-Ed in Chemical News & Intelligence, “INSIDE VIEW: US chemical security standards face uncertain future”, April 14, 2011.

SOCMA Responds to Reintroduction of Secure Chemical Facilities Act, April 1, 2011.

SOCMA Urges Congress to Approve Long-Term Extension of CFATS, March 31, 2011.

Testimony of William E. Allmond, IV, Vice President of Government Relations, Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, before the House Committee on House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy on H.R. 908, the Full Implementation of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act, March 31, 2011.

SOCMA Welcomes Additional Legislation Extending CFATS, March 7, 2011.

SOCMA Welcomes Senate Legislation Extending Chemical Security Rules, March 4, 2011.

SOCMA Renews Call For Long-Term Authorization of Chemical Security Standards, February 11, 2011.

SOCMA written testimony submitted for the record at the House Homeland Security Committee’s hearing on “Preventing Chemical Terrorism: Building A Foundation of Security At Our Nation’s Chemical Facilities”, February 11, 2011.

SOCMA President Lawrence Sloan Op-Ed in the Detroit Free Press, “Firm Up Current Chemical Safety Standards", December 15, 2010.

SOCMA President Lawrence Sloan Op-Ed in the Houston Chronicle, “What’s the Best Approach to U.S. Chemical Security", March 11, 2010.

Testimony of Stephen Poorman International EHS Manager, FUJIFILM Imaging Colorants Ltd. on behalf of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates
before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on Chemical Security: Assessing Progress and Charting a Path Forward
, March 3, 2010.

SOCMA Welcomes Senate Introduction of Chemical Facility Security Reauthorization Act, February 4, 2010.

SOCMA’s Vice President of Government Relations, Bill Allmond, editorial discussing chemical security legislation; Roll Call, October 30, 2009.

Letter to the Editor by SOCMA’s Vice President of Government Relations, Bill Allmond, addressing Congressman Thompson’s comments on chemical security legislation; The Hill newspaper, October 29, 2009.

Letter from SOCMA President Joseph Acker to House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Ranking Member Joe Barton, reiterating SOCMA’s opposition to IST provision in H.R. 2868, Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009, October 20, 2009.

Testimony of Stephen Poorman International EHS Manager, FUJIFILM Imaging Colorants Ltd. on behalf of SOCMA before the Subcommittee on Energy & the Environment of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy & Commerce on The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009 (H.R. 2868), October 1, 2009.

Five Things About Chemical Security That Nobody is Discussing, a series of arguments about the current debate in Congress over the future of chemical security regulation, September 2009.

Letter to the Editor, New York Times, responding to the paper’s call for “safer chemicals” as a security mandate, August 6, 2009.

Letter to House Judiciary Committee outlining opposition to citizen suit provision under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009. July 21, 2009

SOCMA Concerned About IST, Small Business Protections in Chemical Security Bill - Welcomes House Action on Permanent Security Regulation, June 24, 2009.

Letter to the Editor, New York Times, responding to the paper’s call for IST as a security mandate, May 19, 2009.

"Realizing Chemical Site Security Is Not As Easy as I-S-T." Article written by Bill Allmond, SOCMA Vice President of Government & Industry Relations and published on The Hill's "Congress Blog." February 7, 2009.

"IST Can Lead to Dangerous Unintended Consequences." February 4, 2009

Position of the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association on Inherently Safer Technology
Approved by the SOCMA Board of Governors, March 2007.

Statement by the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association following passage of the “Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2008” by the House Committee on Homeland Security
Released in response to the Committee’s passage of “security” IST provisions within the bill, March 6, 2008.

Statement by the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association on the ‘Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2008’ Discussion Draft
Released following the Committee’s Congressional Hearing held on the discussion draft, which would impose inherently safer technology mandates.

Congressional Testimony by SOCMA Member Siegfried (USA) on Inherently Safer Technology
Orally presented to the House Homeland Security Committee, February 26, 2008.

Congressional Testimony by the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association on DHS’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act Standards Implementation
Presented to the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection, December 12, 2007. 

Congressional Testimony by the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association on Inherently Safer Technology
Presented to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, June 21, 2006.

“Safer for Whom: Explaining the Concept of Inherently Safer Technology and Product Substitution in Non-technical Terms"
Prepared May 7, 2003.


Government Relations


What Members Are Saying…

"SOCMA has been great in helping us ensure that we stay in compliance with all agencies and is great at alerting us to new items needing to be addressed.  Help is a phone call away."

Belinda Adame
South Coast Terminals