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Hearing of the Environment and the Economy Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee - The Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards Program -- A Progress Report


Location: Washington, DC

In a few minutes this hearing will recess so that members of both parties and both bodies of Congress can gather at the Capitol for a solemn observance of today's anniversary.

For eleven years now, we in this room, members of Congress and Executive Branch officials, have been called to exhibit the courage and teamwork to protect America from terrorism. We have reassessed our daily lives and the systems we rely on to limit vulnerability without limiting the American way of life.

Six years ago this month we authorized the CFATS program, conscious that the next terrorist incursion could come from within a chemical plant instead of onboard an airplane. It is one of many facets of our complex economy that we look at differently in the shadow of 9/11, even as we recognize its important role in our nation's system of commerce.

Today we're examining key questions on the progress of this program:

* Where are we on preventing personal infiltration of chemical plants?
* Of the thousands of facilities that DHS says need CFATS, how many can confirm for their workers, their neighbors, their investors, and their insurers that they have achieved security against terrorism as defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security?
* Does the culture of the Department reinforce candor and teamwork in exchanging perspectives with each other, with stakeholders, and with the American people and their Representatives in Congress?

When we play team sports we know that "hide the ball" means hiding it from the opposition, not from members of our own team. Secretary Beers, this committee is not your opponent; the terrorists are our common opponent. We are your teammates.

The horrific attacks against our nation that fateful morning eleven years ago continue driving all of our vigilance to protect the homeland. We must honor all of the victims and their loved ones by working together to ensure such an attack never happens again.

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