New Law Includes Provision Requiring Improved Security at Chemical Plants
On October 4, President Bush signed into law the 2007 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act (H.R. 5441), which contains a provision requiring DHS to issue regulations aimed at improving security at chemical plants. Because many food and dairy processing facilities use anhydrous ammonia in their refrigeration systems, they have been considered chemical plants, especially in previous congressional attempts to regulate chemical security.
DHS is required to publish rules within six months that would delineate security steps plants will need to take. During the drafting of the bill, IDFA worked with a coalition of food industry groups in conjunction with the chemical industry to promote language in the final bill that limits the focus to "high risk" facilities. Although dairy facilities would not likely be considered "high risk" operations, the law gives the DHS Secretary broad discretion for deciding what types of facilities fall into this category. Over the next six months, IDFA will work with DHS to ensure that the dairy processing industry is not unnecessarily swept into the scope of the forthcoming regulations.
A floor statement on the bill from Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) last month helped to clarify the provision and its anticipated effect on dairy facilities.
"The dairy industry in Idaho and nationwide has been extremely diligent in taking actions to enhance the safety and security of their facilities," Sen. Craig said. "Clearly, there is substantial interest in ensuring the security of our nation's chemical infrastructure, while not forcing onerous and duplicative regulations on one of our most important food industries."
"IDFA commends Senator Craig for recognizing the important steps taken by the dairy industry to act responsibly and for clarifying the intent of the provision to focus on traditional chemical facilities and not dairy processing facilities," said Chip Kunde, IDFA's senior vice president.
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Posted October 10, 2006