In a recent op-ed, Christine Todd Whitman, the former head of the EPA, proposed greater regulation of the U.S. chemical sector because the current regulations aren’t working. Chemical Facility Antiterrorism Standards (CFATS) were regulations set up in 2007 to help better defend facilities that process, manage or store high-risk chemicals. While this program is lauded as well written and well-intended, CFATS have become complicated and burdensome.

Gov. Whitman is right on one thing: the current system isn’t working, but it is not because of a lack of regulation. Chemical companies have tried – they made security changes, submitted security plans, and have undergone several inspections, but DHS isn’t keeping up. News reports in the last year have slammed DHS’ management of CFATS, which has yet to complete a final compliance inspection and is slow to approve companies’ security plans. Personnel issues, a lack of transparency, changing rules, and other problems typical in bureaucracies have severely hampered DHS’s effectiveness.

The solution to this problem is not more regulation. It’s giving the private sector more room for innovation while scaling back already excessive and failing regulation.

Dr. Steven Bucci is director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He was previously a lead consultant to IBM on cyber security policy. Bucci’s military and government service make him a recognized expert in the interagency process and defense of U.S. interests, particularly with regard to critical infrastructure and what he calls the productive interplay of government and the private sector. Read More
  • Anonymous

    EPA regulations need a serious reality check. It seems that
    more often than not, regulatory policy we’ve developed to help us along is
    actually the very thing that’s destroying us.
    I mean, for the sake of keeping the rules, we’re willing to completely
    not let a project that can help to turn around our economic situation actually
    blossom. Does this seem right to anyone else? Has no one make the correlation
    between our regulatory policies and our economic healing? It seems, that we’re
    constantly tripping ourselves to try and stay compliant, when really compliance
    is overcomplicating our lives.