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House Passes Clarke Cosponsored Bill to Create Tougher Chemical Facility Security Standards

Legislation Includes Rep Clarke’s Grant Program to Train Workers and First Responders in Security Methods

Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2868, the “Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009” with a vote of 230 to193.  Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement:

“This week, the House passed H.R. 2868, the ‘Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009.’   I am a proud cosponsor of H.R. 2868 because it strengthens existing chemical facility regulations (CFATS). When chemical companies don’t follow their own sector’s ‘best practices,’ they put their frontline workers and my constituents at great risk.  That is why I am a strong advocate for provisions in the bill that require:

·         worker participation in the development of vulnerability assessments and site security plans;

·         proper security training for workers;  and

·         whistleblower protections for workers who report non-compliance.

“I am particularly pleased to see that language from an amendment that I sponsored with Representative Chris Carney of Pennsylvania is included in the bill.  This provision will establish a Worker Training Grants Program and will direct the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to award grants to non-profit organizations with demonstrated experience in implementing and operating successful worker or first responder health and safety training programs.

“This grant program will provide chemical facility workers, first responders and emergency response providers with the training and skills they need to help protect employees, the facility and the environment from the effects of a chemical facility terrorist attack. 

“As a New Yorker who witnessed 911 firsthand, I am proud to cosponsor a bill that will provide adequate training to workers in the danger zone, as well as the men and women first responders who fearlessly risk their lives to rescue those workers and protect our critical infrastructure. I am thankful to the United Auto Workers, the American Red Cross, and other union and first responder organizations for their support of this bill and my amendment.”