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General Accounting Office (GAO) asked to conduct a detailed review of the preparedness of chemical manufacturing plants against terrorism

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The Attorney General has failed to submit the interim report required by CSISSFRA (in 1999!) and appears likely to fail to meet the requirements in the law for a final report by August 5, 2002

Source: Committee on Energy and Commerce Democrats

February 13, 2002

The Honorable David M. Walker Comptroller General U.S. General Accounting Office 441 G Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20548

Dear Mr. Walker:

We are writing to request that the General Accounting Office (GAO) conduct a detailed review of the preparedness of chemical manufacturing plants against terrorism. We are concerned that there may be insufficient legal or regulatory authority to respond to chemical industry vulnerabilities. This work should include answers to the following questions:

1. Were there any requirements for security preparedness in existence prior to September 11, 2001? Have any new security requirements been imposed on key facilities since September 11, 2001? If so, please identify them.

2. Is there a federal requirement that key facilities conduct a vulnerability assessment to determine the consequences of a terrorist or other international act and identify actions necessary to correct significant vulnerabilities in advance of terrorist or other intentional acts?

3. Please examine what federal regulatory authorities exist, if any, to require vulnerability assessments and require that necessary corrective actions be taken to address significant vulnerabilities in advance of potential terrorist attacks or other threats from intentional acts. Please identify and cite specific statutory or regulatory authorities that exist to require security measures.

4. Has this Administration promulgated any new requirements for chemical manufacturing facilities with respect to security in advance of possible terrorist attacks and has the Administration sought any new statutory authority from the Congress with respect to that security?

5. What federal agency, if any, is the lead agency responsible for security for chemical manufacturing facilities?

6. The Federal Government has expended more than $600,000 in a contract with Sandia National Laboratories to devise a methodology to evaluate chemical plant security. What have the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice done with this vulnerability assessment methodology and to what extent has it been used to conduct vulnerability assessments by chemical plants?

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7. To the extent it is useful, please compare and contrast the level of preparedness for a terrorist attack or other intentional acts for chemical manufacturing facilities with the level of security in other industry sectors with critical infrastructures.

Also, in 1999 Congress passed the Chemical Safety Information, Site Security and Fuels Regulatory Relief Act (CSISSFRA), P.L. 106-40 which requires the U.S. Attorney General to evaluate the vulnerability of chemical facilities. The Attorney General has failed to submit the interim report required by CSISSFRA and appears likely to fail to meet the requirements in the law for a final report by August 5, 2002. Please also investigate and detail what actions, if any, the Attorney General has taken to evaluate the vulnerability of specific chemical facilities. Indicate whether any comprehensive vulnerability assessments have been conducted by the Attorney General, what vulnerability assessment methodology was used, and the specific corrective actions, if any, taken in response to the Attorney Generalís evaluation.

If you have any questions about this request please contact us, or have your staff contact Richard A. Frandsen, Senior Minority Counsel, at (202) 225-3641.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Sincerely,

JOHN D. DINGELL
RANKING MEMBER
COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE

FRANK PALLONE, JR.
RANKING MEMBER
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

cc: The Honorable W. J. "Billy" Tauzin, Chairman
Committee on Energy and Commerce

The Honorable Paul E. Gillmor, Chairman
Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials
Committee on Energy and Commerce

The Honorable Tom Ridge, Director
Office of Homeland Security

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