CFATS Program Extension Is Great News for Fertilizer Industry


July 14, 2020

Bipartisanship does still exist, though often in short supply these days. Earlier this month, the Senate cleared a bipartisan three-year extension (S. 4096) of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program. If it becomes law, S. 4096 will extend the current CFATS program through July 27, 2023. The House appears poised to pass this legislation when it returns for legislative work the week of July 20, clearing the way for the President’s signature.

In true compromise fashion, no one is getting exactly what they want, including The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and its coalition partners who were seeking an extension or bipartisan reauthorization of at least five years. Nevertheless, provided it becomes law, this is great news as it provides industry with much-need certainty for the next three years. Given the challenges facing us related to the COVID-19 pandemic, stability for the CFATS program is most welcome.

The CFATS program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), regulates the security of facilities that store or handle threshold quantities of more than 300 chemicals. Included in that list are a few fertilizers, including ammonia, ammonium nitrate, sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate. Hundreds of fertilizer industry facilities are regulated by the program. TFI and its members support the program because it provides a good framework to ensure chemical facilities take the appropriate steps necessary to protect themselves from potential security and terrorist threats.

The safe and secure handling of fertilizers is a high priority for TFI and its members. TFI and many of our members actively participate in and sponsor numerous safety initiatives, including ResponsibleAg, TRANSCAER, the National Agronomic Environmental Health and Safety School, and the Advanced Tank Car Collaborative Research Program.

ResponsibleAg -- which is a joint effort between TFI and the Agricultural Retailers Association -- exists to enhance compliance by agricultural retailers with a variety of federal safety, security, environmental and transportation regulations, including those administered DHS, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT). To date, over 3,400 audits have been completed and over 1,300 facilities have been certified by the ResponsibleAg program.

The Fertilizer Institute thanks Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI), Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-MI) and Sens. Capito (R-WV), Lankford (R-OK), Inhofe (R-OK), and Carper (D-DE) for their bipartisan work on S. 4096. TFI also thanks their counterparts in the House, including Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) for their support for advancing the three-year compromise.