Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks Solemn Reminder the Work of Securing Our Nation Is Never Done
This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the monstrous 9/11 attacks on America, which resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and unspeakable tragedy for the families, friends and colleagues of those lost.
On that day, and the days that followed, there were also tremendous acts of bravery that helped save many lives and acts of humanity that helped start the healing process for an entire nation.
Following the attack, the country began the difficult work of sorting out how such a terrible thing could even happen, and more importantly, what needed to be done to prevent it from happening again. That responsibility was put on the shoulders of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which was created and charged with identifying and addressing future threats.
ACC and its members also recognized the need to act and instituted a comprehensive, mandatory security program called the Responsible Care® Security Code. To date, ACC members have invested $27 billion on security enhancements to their operations under the Security Code.
Over the past two decades we have come a long way when it comes to securing the country and the chemical sector. But, there is still more that can and must be done.
For example, Congress must act to ensure the longtime future of a program that is critical to the security of our industry and the nation, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS). Under CFATS, chemical facilities have worked with DHS to address a wide range of threats, from preventing a bomb-laden vehicle from reaching a target and thwarting cyber-attacks to preventing the theft or diversion of materials from a site.
CFATS has proven to be a very effective regulatory tool that must be preserved and has helped forge a strong working relationship between industry and the federal government to advance chemical security.
We also need additional regulatory tools to help address other emerging threats. For example, the U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency has recognized that drones can pose a very real threat to our nation’s infrastructure, which includes the chemical sector.
ACC recently joined with a coalition of industry groups to send a letter to the FAA calling on the agency to follow through on the direction of Congress and finish an important drone safety rule. The new rule would create a process to establish airspace restrictions for drones when it comes to operating near critical infrastructure and sensitive sites.
Guarding against cyber-attacks is another evolving threat and focus for the chemical industry. To help support the aggressive steps ACC and its members have taken to enhance cybersecurity, we urge the federal government to support the sharing of timely cyber threat information and aggressively prosecute cyber-crimes.
We must never forget the heavy toll of 9/11, and we must never relent in our continued efforts to protect each other and our country from future attacks.