Summary: S.880 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (07/21/1999)

Chemical Safety Information, Site Security and Fuels Regulatory Relief Act - Amends the Clean Air Act to prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for purposes of regulating and listing substances anticipated to cause death or serious health or environmental effects in the case of an accidental release, from listing a flammable substance when used as a fuel or held for sale as a fuel at a retail facility solely because of its explosive or flammable properties, unless a fire or explosion caused by the substance will result in acute adverse health effects due to human exposure other than those caused by the heat of the fire or impact of the explosion. Defines a "retail facility" as a stationary source at which more than one-half of the income is obtained from direct sales to end users or at which more than one-half of the fuel sold, by volume, is sold through a cylinder exchange program.

(Sec. 3) Directs the President to assess: (1) the increased risk of terrorist and other criminal activity associated with the posting of off-site consequence analysis information (portions of risk management plans submitted by owners or operators of stationary sources that evaluate worst-case or alternative release scenarios and any electronic data base created by the Administrator from those portions) on the Internet; and (2) the incentives created by public disclosure of such information for reduction in the risk of accidental releases.

Requires the President, based on such assessment, to promulgate regulations governing the distribution of such information in a manner that minimizes the likelihood of such releases, the risk, and harm to public health and welfare and allows: (1) public access to paper copies of such information for a limited number of stationary sources located anywhere in the United States; (2) other public access to such information, as appropriate; (3) access for official use by certain State or local covered persons that relates to sources located in such persons' States; (4) a State or local covered person to provide, for official use, such information relating to sources in the person's State to a State or local covered person in a contiguous State; and (5) a State or local covered person to obtain for official use, by request to the Administrator, such information that is not otherwise available. Defines a "covered person" as a Federal, State, or local government employee or contractor, an entity that has been given responsibility for preventing, planning for, or responding to accidental releases, or a qualified researcher.

Provides that such information, and any ranking of stationary sources derived from such information, shall not be made available under Federal freedom of information provisions during the one-year period beginning on this Act's enactment date. Makes such information unavailable under such provisions, if the regulations described above are promulgated before the end of such one-year period, after the end of that period. Applies such requirements to information submitted to the Administrator before this Act's enactment date as well.

Makes such information available to State and local covered persons for official use as described above and to the public in a form that does not make available any information concerning the identity or location of stationary sources during the period beginning on this Act's enactment date and ending on the earlier of promulgation of the regulations described above or one year after this Act's enactment date.

Prohibits covered persons from disclosing such information to the public in any form, or any Statewide or national ranking of sources derived from such information, except as authorized by this Act. Makes this prohibition inapplicable if regulations described above have not been promulgated one year after this Act's enactment.

Prescribes criminal penalties for willful violations of this Act by covered persons.

Requires the Administrator to maintain a list of all stationary sources that make off-site consequence analysis information publicly available.

Directs the Administrator to develop a system for providing such information to qualified researchers. Bars such system from allowing researchers to disseminate such information or make it available on the Internet.

Requires the Administrator to establish an information technology system that provides for public availability of such information by means of a central data base under Federal Government control that contains information that users may read but provides no means by which an electronic or mechanical copy may be made.

Authorizes EPA, the Department of Justice, and other appropriate agencies to provide technical assistance to owners and operators of stationary sources and participate in the development of voluntary industry standards that will help achieve accidental release prevention objectives.

Provides that this Act supersedes any inconsistent provision of State or local law, with an exception for availability of State-collected information on chemical releases.

Directs the Attorney General to: (1) report to Congress on the extent to which regulations under this Act have resulted in actions that are effective in detecting, preventing, and minimizing the consequences of releases of regulated substances that may be caused by criminal activity; and (2) review, as part of such report, the vulnerability of covered stationary sources to criminal and terrorist activity, current industry practices regarding site security, and security of transportation of regulated substances.

Authorizes appropriations.

Requires the Comptroller General to report to Congress on the status of the development of amendments to the National Fire Protection Association Code for Liquefied Petroleum Gas that will result in the provision of information to local emergency response personnel concerning the off-site effects of accidental releases of substances exempted from listing under this Act.

Directs the Comptroller General to report to Congress on: (1) the level of compliance with Federal and State requirements relating to the submission to local emergency response personnel of information intended to help such personnel respond to chemical accidents or related environmental or public health threats; and (2) the adequacy of the information required to be submitted and the efficacy of methods for delivering such information to such personnel.

(Sec. 4) Requires owners or operators of stationary sources at which regulated substances are present in more than a threshold amount to convene public meetings to discuss local implications of their risk management plans. Authorizes small business sources to comply with such requirement by posting publicly a summary of the facility's off-site consequence analysis information. Provides for certifications to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by such owners or operators that such meetings have been held or such information has been posted.

Authorizes the Administrator to bring an action in the appropriate U.S. district court against any person who fails to comply with this section's requirements.