Senate Bills Would Require High-Risk Facilities to Implement “Inherently Safer Technologies”

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced two bills seeking to require certain high-risk facilities to implement measures — including so-called inherently safer technologies (IST) — to protect them from terrorist attacks. The Secure Water Facilities Act (S. 67) and the Secure Chemical Facilities Act (S. 68) would require high-risk drinking water and wastewater treatment plants and chemical facilities to assess their vulnerability to attack, develop a plan to address those vulnerabilities and respond to an emergency, and provide worker training to carry out the plan.

The bills also would require facilities using certain chemicals to evaluate whether they could reduce the consequences of an attack by, for example, using ISTs. A facility would be required to implement ISTs if it has been classified as one of the highest-risk facilities, implementation of safer measures is feasible, and implementation would not increase risk overall by shifting risk to another location.

The bills would also require the protection of sensitive security information from disclosure, allow communities to have a role in ensuring local facilities comply with these regulations, and authorize grants to help defray the cost of implementing the legislation. The bills are similar to legislation Senator Lautenberg introduced in the last Congress.

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