SOCMA President Delivers Opening Remarks at 2015 Security Summit

Remarks by Lawrence D. Sloan, President & CEO
Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates (SOCMA)
Ninth Annual Chemical Sector Security Summit
July 22, 2015, Alexandria, VA

Good morning and welcome to the Ninth Annual Chemical Sector Security Summit hosted jointly by the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  I am pleased to once again open this outstanding forum where the federal government and the private sector convene and engage in constructive dialog on the needs of chemical safety and security.  Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to join us for what will certainly be informative panel discussions and presentations over the next two days. 

As the private sector co-chair of this summit for the past nine years, SOCMA is proud to see another impressive turnout.  With over 400 attendees this year, the Summit remains the largest annual gathering place for chemical safety and security information exchange. 

Since last year’s summit, we’ve seen continued forward progress with the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards. Late last year, Congress reauthorized the program for four years, giving the chemical industry and regulators the certainty they need to effectively implement the regulations. Just two years ago, Congress was threatening to pull the plug on the CFATS program.  However, thanks to the hard work by Assistant Secretary Caitlin Durkovich and Director Dave Wulf in the Infrastructure Security Compliance Division, this leadership team at DHS demonstrated that CFATS is, in fact, reducing risk and hardening our nation’s chemical assets from attack. Ultimately, the reauthorization was supported by large majorities in both political parties, which, in these highly partisan times, is no small accomplishment.

Much credit for CFATS’ continued progress also goes to many of you in the room. Implementation and compliance requires hundreds of hours, tens of thousands of dollars—at a minimum—and, sometimes, an abundant amount of patience.

Although unwritten, it also requires continual daily vigilance. Last month’s attack on an American-based company in France and the repeated cyberattacks across our public and private sectors (including, the recent widespread attack by presumptive Chinese hackers targeting federal employee records within OPM) are sobering reminders that our adversaries are hard at work, exploiting the smallest vulnerability for as large an impact as possible. Your commitment to chemical security is commendable and hasn’t been achieved without a price. The result of your dedication, to date, speaks for itself.  The chemical supply chain is a complex network of chemical manufacturers, distributors, warehouses, and transporters.  A security breach at any point in this chain affects all of us – so it is imperative to work collaboratively with our supply chain partners, both upstream and downstream all the way to the consumer.  We know all too well that public interest groups will take any opportunity to vilify and cast blame on the industry, and thereby advance the myth that we don’t care enough about our nation’s safety.

And, so we must also remain collaborative with federal and state regulators to continuously improve our industry’s environmental, health, safety, and security performance. They have a mandate to safeguard and secure the American public and we have an obligation—we share this common goal. Though the chemical industry is among the safest of all manufacturing industries, there is always more we can do and actions speak louder than words. This week, be sure to engage in the conversation with DHS and other agency representatives.  Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from one another’s expertise and perspectives.

In closing, I once again welcome everyone to this year’s Chemical Sector Security Summit.  Thank you for your attention this morning and enjoy the sessions.

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