Chemical Plant Security Legislation Moves Forward...Again

Voluntary cooperation not enough say government affairs advisors in nonwovens industry

What Next?

Despite the newfound momentum described at the outset, persistent disagreements described above have slowed progress. Indeed, S. 2145 is currently stuck in a holding pattern due to a legislative maneuver by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) who has voiced concerns about the bill's lack of Federal preemption language and more.

Concern that chemical security legislation would die once more, in fact, prompted Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) to add to a provision to the DHS funding bill for Fiscal Year 2007 requiring that the Department set interim security regulations for the chemical sector until final requirements can be established via legislation. The entire Senate approved this prevision on July 13--along with the rest of the DHS FY 2007 appropriation bill--even though opponents argued it is simply a stopgap measure that falls short of comprehensive legislation that is really needed and there is no counterpart provision in the version of the bill that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year.

At present, therefore, it is uncertain whether the final version of the DHS funding bill for next year will include Sen. Byrd's amendment, or if Congress will rise to the challenge of passing a comprehensive piece of legislation instead. All that is certain, in fact, is that lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are giving serious attention to the matter and industry is looking to Capitol Hill for action. One other thing that is certain is that INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, will keep industry members informed of significant developments on this issue as they unfold.

Article by Peter Mayberry, INDA Director of Government Affairs, and Jessica Franken, INDA Government Affairs Associate

Peter Mayberry's column appears monthly in NONWOVENS INDUSTRY.