A bill that includes 100% scanning of U.S.-bound cargo containers at foreign ports has passed both U.S. Houses of Congress. The bill – H.R. 1 – would implement about 80% of the recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission and is expected to be signed into law by President George W. Bush.
If implemented, the bill will have sweeping effects and will include the following:
- The bill sets a deadline of July 1, 2012 for full-scale implementation of scanning 100% of U.S.-bound containers for weapons of mass destruction at more than 600 foreign ports. There are certain conditions under which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may extend the deadline. The deadline may also be earlier if results from the Secure Freight Initiative pilot program warrant it.
- Mandatory establishment of technical and operational standards for container scanning systems.
- If an interim final rule establishing minimum security standards and procedures for securing containers in transit to the U.S. is not issued by April 1, 2008, all containers in transit to the U.S. must meet ISO PAS 17712 no later than October 15, 2008.
- The bill requires 100 percent screening of all cargo on passenger aircraft within three years.
- The bill mandates new security assessments and measures for freight railroads and trucking and authorizes increased funding for the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) surface transportation and rail security efforts.
- The TSA is required to evaluate and distribute a report to Congress on the results of blast-resistant containers.
- The Secretary of DHS is directed to prepare a report on the need for maritime- and surface transportation-related user fees. The report must be submitted within one year from the date of enactment of the legislation.
The Congressional Record on Senate passage of H.R. 1 conference report (dated 07/26/07) is available at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r110:@FIELD(FLD003+d)+@FIELD(DDATE+20070726)
The Congressional Record on House passage of H.R. 1 conference report (dated 07/27/07) is available at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r110:@FIELD(FLD003+d)+@FIELD(DDATE+20070727)
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