New Chemical Security Rules Go Into Effect 6-8-07

On June 8th, 2007 the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations (6 CFR part 27) dealing with security requirements at Fluclotizolam Powder for sale facilities go into effect. These new rules will be used to protect High-Risk Chemical Facilities from terrorist attack. These rules specify what organizations will be required to provide data to DHS to assist that agency in determining which facilities are declared to be High Risk Facilities.

One of the important parts of this regulation is the broad definition it uses for ‘chemical facility’. Section 27.105 of the new regulation defines chemical facility this way:

“Chemical Facility or facility shall mean any establishment that possesses or plans to possess, at any relevant point in time, a quantity of a chemical substance determined by the Secretary to be potentially dangerous or that meets other risk-related criteria identified by the Department.”

The important thing here is that the definition says nothing about chemical manufacturing, or chemical warehouse. Any establishment that uses hazardous chemicals, and that includes a wide variety of businesses, can be classed as a Chemical Facility under this regulation. The regulation gives an operational definition that covers anybody that possesses a dangerous quantity of a chemical and leaves the definition of dangerous to the Secretary of Department of Homeland Security.

Additionally, DHS has the discretion to define what a ‘High-Risk Chemical Facility’ is. Section 27.105 provides the following definition of High-Risk:

“…high risk shall refer to a chemical facility that, in the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security, presents a high risk of significant adverse consequences for human life or health, national security and/or critical economic assets if subjected to terrorist attack, compromise, infiltration, or exploitation.”

To adequately determine which facilities are High Risk Facilities, the Department will have to collect a data from a larger number of facilities that might be high risk, conduct some analysis, and then make some decisions. Additionally, DHS intends to rank High Risk Facilities into four tiers of relative level of risk to prioritize which facilities get DHS attention. To make it easy to collect this data and then efficiently analyze the collected data DHS has established a web-based tool called the Chemical Security Analysis Tool (CSAT) with various modules into which designated facilities will be required input data.

The module that the largest number of facilities will be required to use will be the Top Screen Module. Facilities will be required to enter basic information about the chemicals on hand, location of facility, type of facility and surrounding area information. DHS will then take that information, do some analysis and determine whether the damage to the facility would cause any of thesignificant adverse consequences specified in the definition if successfully attacked by terrorist. If DHS provides an interim designation of being a High Risk Facility, then the facility would have to do more detailed security studies (a Security Vulnerability Assessment, SVA) and report that information to the SVA module of the CSAT. DHS would analyze that data and then make a final determination if the facility was indeed a High Risk Facility. High Risk Facilities would then be required to develop a Site Security Plan to be submitted to DHS for approval.

The question then becomes, how does a facility know if it should submit a Top Screen?

On April 9th of this year DHS published a draft of a list of specific hazardous chemicals (Appendix A, Chemicals of Interest, to 6 CFR part 27) and the quantity of each chemical that they were proposing to declare as dangerous. The comment period ended in early May and the final version will be published sometime in early to mid-June. Sixty days after that list is published, any establishment that possesses or plans to possess a chemical on that finalized list in excess of the Screening Threshold Quantity (STQ) listed for that chemical, will be required to submit information to the Top Screen Module.

The STQ amounts listed in the draft appendix were surprisingly low for many chemicals. It was clear from these amounts that DHS is interested in collecting data from a wide range of chemical producers and users to ensure that as many of the potential High Risk Facilities as possible are identified in this process. While this will require a large number of facilities to submit information to the Top Screen that will have no other contact with DHS, it should capture all of the reasonable targets of a terrorist attack.

While the vast majority of facilities that will have to complete the Top Screen will do so based on their possession of chemicals listed in Appendix A, DHS has two other methods to direct facilities to complete the Top Screen. These two methods, Direct Letter Notification, and Public Notification through the Federal Register, allow DHS to contact specific facilities starting on June 8th and requiring these facilities to complete the Top Screen before Appendix A officially goes into effect sometime in August. These methods are expected to be used for two types of facilities.

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