SOCMA Testifies that Poor CFATS Implementation Has Created Compliance Burdens on Small Chemical Manufacturers
Senior Manager, Public Relations & Media
Washington, DC – The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) today testified to Congress that poor implementation of the nation’s chemical security regulations has created burdens on small chemical companies.
Testifying on behalf of SOCMA before the House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, Matthew Leary, Corporate EHS&S Manager for Pilot Chemical Company, discussed several issues impeding compliance with the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), which is administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Specifically, Leary highlighted communications issues with DHS and difficulties budgeting for compliance given the agency’s shortcomings with implementation.
“In this tough economy, every penny counts,” said Leary. “We recognize that we have to comply with CFATS and are prepared to do so, but we need to know how much it will cost and when those costs will be incurred. Instead, we have been forced to guess.” Leary said small companies cannot afford to spend dollars on security in advance unless the company is certain it will lead to compliance.
Leary also told lawmakers that smaller companies like his are looking to DHS for clear compliance guidance, a request the agency routinely declines. Instead, Leary said DHS provides non-specific feedback on Site Security Plans (SSPs) that security professionals cannot translate into action. He also called on the agency to focus on expediting the review and approval of SSPs and inspections of facilities.
Industry can provide DHS assistance in minimizing the future cost and complexity of CFATS Leary said, but the public-private partnership needs to improve. Leary said Congress should encourage DHS to work collaboratively with the regulated community to solve the issues hindering implementation.
Lawmakers can increase DHS’s chances of success by conducting regular oversight, reauthorizing the program for an extended period of time and adequately funding the program, Leary said.
Pilot Chemical, a small privately held company based in Ohio, has been a member of SOCMA since 1988.
SOCMA is the only U.S.-based trade association dedicated solely to the batch, custom and specialty chemical industry. Since 1921, we have represented a diverse membership of small, medium and large chemical companies, making us the leading authority on this sector.
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