by Mae Stevens

October 1, 2009

Today the Obama Administration, represented by DHS Undersecretary Rand Beers and EPA Assistant Administrator for Water, Peter Silva testified in support of assessments of safer more secure chemicals for all 6,000 regulated chemical facilities, and conditional implementation of safer more secure chemicals at the highest tiered facilities (approximately 800). Full Copies of their testimony (and all witnesses from the second panel) can be found here:

Excerpts of Beers and Silva identical statements on safer more secure technologies included:

"*The Administration supports consistency of IST approaches for facilities regardless of sector.

"* The Administration believes that all high-risk chemical facilities, Tiers 1-4, should assess IST methods and report the assessment in the facilities’ site security plans. Further, the appropriate regulatory entity should have the authority to require facilities posing the highest degree of risk (Tiers 1 and 2) to implement IST method(s) if such methods enhance overall security, are feasible, and, in the case of water sector facilities, consider public health and environmental requirements.

“* For Tier 3 and 4 facilities, the appropriate regulatory entity should review the IST assessment contained in the site security plan. The entity should be authorized to provide recommendations on implementing IST, but it would not require facilities to implement the IST methods."

The hearing also made clear that the neither bill (H.R. 2868 & H.R. 3258) creates a command and control structure.  Instead it establishes conditions and incentives:
1) safer chemical processes must be feasible
2) safer chemical processes must not impose onerous costs on a facility
3) safer chemical processes must not shift risks to any other facility
4) safer chemical processes must reduce risks
5) safer chemical processes are proposed by the facility itself
6) only the highest risk facilities are required to implement safer
chemical processes
7) there is funding in both bills to assist with implementation costs

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