DHS Begins Strict Enforcement of Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards

To counter the threat of terrorism, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin strict enforcement of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), beginning in early 2010.

Section 550 of the DHS Appropriations Act of 2007 gave the Department the authority to regulate facilities that “present high levels of security risk.” Managers of facilities that use, store, distribute or manufacture chemicals are being asked to submit information through an online screening process to determine if their facility might be considered “high risk” and, if so, how to proceed.

Managers will be asked to review the Department’s Appendix A: Chemicals of Interest list, which can be found at www.dhs.gov/chemicalsecurity, check any chemicals that are, or will be, present in their warehouse or facility against that list, and then review the Screening Threshold Quantity (STQ) for each. If the facility determines that no chemicals of interest are, or will be, on the premises above the STQs, no further action is necessary to be in compliance.

For those facilities that possess, or will possess, chemicals of interest in amounts that exceed the STQs, managers will be required to complete a Top-Screen within 60 days of the date each chemical comes into their possession. To do this, managers must register online to access the DHS Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT), available at www.dhs.gov/chemicalsecurity. Once registration is validated, managers will receive a user identification and password, along with instructions on how to access CSAT. They should then download and review the CSAT Top Screen User Manual and Screening Questions, gather the information specified in the User Manual, and then access and complete the Top Screen.

DHS will review the Top-Screen to make an initial determination as to whether a facility is “high risk.” If a facility receives such a determination, managers will be asked to access and complete a Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA). Following the facility’s SVA submission, DHS will make a final determination as to whether the facility is considered “high risk.” This determination would result in the facility having to submit a Site Security Plan. High-risk facilities that fail to take these next steps may be subject to civil enforcement action by DHS, which may lead to DHS’ issuance of an Order that assesses civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day per violation or an Order to Cease Operations.

For more information on CFATS and this screening process, visit the Department of Homeland Security website at http://www.dhs.gov/chemicalsecurity, or contact the help desk at [email protected] or 1-866-323-2957.

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