The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill to authorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish standards protecting chemical facilities from terrorism.

The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014 establishes risk-based performance standards for the security of chemical facilities. It requires covered chemical facilities to prepare Security Vulnerability Assessments, which identify facility security vulnerabilities, and to develop and implement Site Security Plans, which include measures that satisfy the identified risk-based performance standards.

It also allows certain covered chemical facilities, in specified circumstances, to submit Alternate Security Programs in lieu of a Security Vulnerability Assessment, Site Security Plan or both, according to DHS.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said the measure would help prevent events like the April 2013 ammonium nitrate explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer facility.

After the the tragic events in West, Texas in my home state," McCaul said, "it is imperative we pass this bill."

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued the following statement: "ACC commends Congress for coming together to pass this important legislation, which is critical to providing a strong foundation for CFATS.  The legislation will give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and industry the long overdue certainty that is necessary for a strong and effective chemical security program."