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H.R. 2868, The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009

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H.R. 2868 would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to extend, modify, and recodify the authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security to enhance security and protect against acts of terrorism against chemical facilities.

Detailed Summary

Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009 - Amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to set forth provisions governing the regulation of security practices at chemical facilities.

Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to designate any chemical substance as a substance of concern and establish the threshold quantity for each such substance after considering the potential extent of death, injury, and serious adverse effects that could result from a chemical facility terrorist incident.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) maintain a list of covered chemical facilities that are of sufficient security risk; (2) assign each covered facility to one of four risk-based tiers; (3) establish standards and procedures for security vulnerability assessments and site security plans; (4) require each facility owner or operator to submit and, once approved, implement such an assessment and plan; (5) establish risk-based chemical security performance standards for site security plans; (6) establish modified or separate standards, protocols, and procedures for security vulnerability assessments and site security plans for covered chemical facilities that are also academic laboratories; and (7) establish a program to award grants to eligible entities to provide for training and education of specified chemical facility employees (covered individuals), first responders, and emergency response providers.

Permits the Secretary, under specified circumstances, to: (1) accept an alternate security program submitted by the owner or operator of the facility; (2) conduct facility security inspections; and (3) obtain access to and copy records.

Requires: (1) the timely sharing of threat information; and (2) the Secretary to provide information to the public regarding a process by which individuals may report problems, deficiencies, or vulnerabilities at a covered facility associated with the risk of a terrorist incident. Establishes whistleblower protections for facility employees who report violations. Provides penalties for violations of whistleblower protections.

Sets forth provisions that: (1) preclude preemption of states' rights to adopt or enforce more stringent regulations or standards; and (2) prohibit the public disclosure of protected information, subject to specified limitations.

Requires the owner or operator of a covered chemical facility to include in the site security plan an assessment of methods to reduce the consequences of a terrorist attack on that facility.

Directs the Secretary to report to the House Homeland Security Committee regarding exempting small business concerns from security requirements.

Establishes in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) an Office of Chemical Facility Security.

Directs the Secretary to issue regulations to require covered chemical facilities to conduct appropriate security background checks and ensure appropriate credentials for unescorted visitors and chemical facility personnel. Requires an owner or operator of a facility who finds that a covered individual is not legally authorized to work in the United States to cease to employ that individual, subject to a specified redress process.

Authorizes civil actions by any individuals alleging violations of this Act.

Requires annual (and after four years, biennial) reports to Congress on progress in achieving compliance with this Act. Authorizes appropriations.

Directs the Secretary to establish a notification system that provides any individual the ability to report a suspected security deficiency or noncompliance with this Act, including by telephonic and Internet-based means. Requires the Secretary and the Inspector General for DHS, respectively, to take specified actions to address deficiencies and to report to specified congressional committees.

Requires the Secretary to review the designation of sodium fluoroacetate as a substance of concern.

Status of the Legislation

Latest Major Action: 11/5/2009: House floor actions. Status: Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union rises leaving H.R. 2868 as unfinished business.

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