Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Authorization Bill
The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies will hold a hearing to discuss the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014 (H.R. 4007) on Thursday, February 26. This bill, introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Patrick Meehan (R-PA), would provide a two-year authorization for the CFATS program, which issues and enforces security standards for high-risk chemical facilities. It would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to meet certain chemical security goals over the next two years, allow automatic re-approval of Alternative Site Security Plans, and permit approved third-party inspections. In addition, the bill would require DHS to coordinate with state and local entities that manage local facilities.
This Week’s Hearings:
- Wednesday, February 26: The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing titled “DHS Challenges and Opportunities.” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson will testify.
- Thursday, February 26: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies will hold a hearing on the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014.
- Wednesday, February 12: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a full committee hearing titled “Extreme Weather Events: The Costs of Not Being Prepared.”
DHS to Expand Laredo Port
General Services Administration Administrator Dan Tangherlini and DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have announced plans to modernize and expand the Laredo, TX land port of entry. Utilizing $61.6 million of FY 2014 appropriated funds, the federal government will modernize Laredo Bridge 1, as well as construct a new automobile and bus inspection facility at Laredo Bridge 2. The agencies plan to issue the construction RFP in March 2014, award the construction contract in August 2014, and complete construction by July 2017. This project is expected to increase border security while easing pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
DHS Assists Import/Export Streamlining
At the North American Leaders Summit, Secretary Johnson announced that DHS will implement significant portions of an Executive Order titled “Streamlining the Export/Import Process for Americas Businesses.” This Executive Order mandates government-wide use of the International Trade Data System (ITDS) by the end of 2016. ITDS is an automated system that will allow businesses to transmit all information incident to cargo imports and exports through one “electronic window,” rather than multiple agency-specific platforms. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Food Safety Inspection Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency will begin testing the system for imports at selected locations with certain pre-identified industry partners in spring 2014. The agencies will include exports and a broader range of industry users in spring 2015 with the goal of completing testing and implementation by 2016.