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Chemical Plant Security Legislation Advances with Companion Bill on Drinking Water Utilities

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C, October 26, 2009

Congress prevented the Department of Homeland Security‚Äôs temporary authority to regulate chemical plant security from expiring as originally scheduled on October 4, 2009.  In recent weeks Congress has worked both to extend the temporary authority and to draft permanent authority.  Key recent developments include:

  • Congress approved, and the President signed, an extension in the temporary authority until October 31, 2009.
  • Congress approved and sent to the President for approval an extension in the temporary authority until October 4, 2010.
  • The permanent authority bill in the House, which had been reported by the Homeland Security Committee, has now been reported by the Energy and Commerce Committee as well.  It still has a provision on inherently safer technology, but the citizen suit provision has been cut back.  It still needs to be reported by the Judiciary Committee before it can go to the full House of Representatives for a vote.
  • A companion bill to address security at drinking water facilities was reported by the Energy and Commerce Committee.
  • The Obama Administration has provided its principles for chemical plant security legislation.
  • The Senate still has not introduced a bill, so next session the issues debated in the House are likely to be reconsidered in the Senate.

This alert explains those developments in greater detail, available here.

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