NEWS

DHS Seeks to Streamline CFATS Program

By Megan Gates

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has taken the first step in requesting public comment on the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program to streamline the compliance process. On Friday morning, DHS posted an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for public inspection online. It will then publish the ANPRM in the Federal Register and make it available for public comment.

CFATS was implemented in 2007 and establishes risk-based performance standards for securing chemical facilities. The program requires covered chemical facilities to prepare Security Vulnerability Assessments, which identify facility security vulnerabilities.

CFATS also mandates that covered facilities develop and implement Site Security Plans, which include measures that “satisfy the identified risk-based performance standards,” according to DHS. In some instances, CFATS also requires covered facilities to submit Alternate Security Programs instead of a Security Vulnerability Assessment, Site Security Plan, or both.

Caitlin Durkovich, DHS assistant secretary for infrastructure protection, said at the 2014 Chemical Sector Security Summit in Baltimore in July that DHS is looking to create “CFATS 2.0” through the ANPRM process as “every program needs a refresh.”

She and other members of DHS, who attended a media roundtable at the event, said they’re beginning the modification process now, as it seems to be the right point in the maturation of the program. DHS recently approved 1,000 Site Security Plans and completed 1,300 inspections of covered facilities.

DHS is looking for feedback on all aspects of the CFATS program, but is especially interested in hearing from stakeholders about how the program can be streamlined for facilities looking to achieve and maintain compliance.

Durkovich also added that DHS is interested in feedback on CFATS’ Appendix A. This lists chemicals of interest that are also included in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Risk Management Program, in the Chemical Weapons Convention, hazardous materials, and explosives regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. DHS is looking for feedback, Durkovich said, from stakeholders about possible new additions to the appendix or chemicals that should be eliminated.

The department is planning to hold a series of listening sessions across the nation to hear direct feedback from stakeholders in person. Information about dates, locations, and the registration process for the sessions will be made available to stakeholders later, with the plan to hold them sometime in the fall of 2014, Durkovich said.

Comments and feedback on CFATS can be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or in writing to the department at U.S. Department of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Office of Infrastructure Protection, Infrastructure Security Compliance Division, 245 Murray Lane, Mail Stop 0610, Arlington, VA 20528-0610.

Additional information about the process can also be requested by e-mailing cfats@hq.dhs.gov.

 

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