Anti-terrorism rules expire during shutdown

“As a result of this expiration, there are currently no legally binding regulations in place to protect the nation’s chemical facilities from criminal and terrorist attacks,” Waxman said in the memo on Thursday. 

Since 2007, the DHS has issued temporary rules to help chemical facilities guard against terror attacks. Those standards have been repeatedly extended to allow for a comprehensive program to be developed.

The program, known as the Chemical Facility Antiterrorism Standards, expired on Friday, four days into the shutdown.

“This means that the chemical safety regulations adopted in 2007 are no longer in force, and the Department of Homeland Security has no authority to require security measures at high-risk facilities,” Waxman said in the memo.

“Practically, the effect of this expiration is that the facilities that have not yet submitted security plans are not now required to submit those plans, while those that have are no longer required to implement them. DHS inspectors are not on the job, visiting chemical facilities.”

The DHS has not been hit as hard by the shutdown as some other agencies. About 14 percent of its workforce has been furloughed, halting some law enforcement training activities, risk mapping and research and development.