DHS Revises Tiering Assignments Under Chemical-Site Security Measures

Jul 21, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it has revised tiering assignments for several chemical facilities covered under DHS’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, which requires chemical companies to develop and implement specific security plans for their facilities.

DHS reported that it has communicated with chemical-sector organizations and individually notified certain high-risk facilities of revised tiering assignments that affected a limited number of facilities covered under the CFATS program, according to a DHS statement. DHS uses risk-assessment computer programs to help DHS identify facilities that are high risk. Following a DHS review of the results of one of the risk assessment tools that revealed some apparent anomalies, DHS replaced modeling data in one part of the tool, potentially affecting the tiering assignments for facilities with certain chemical holdings. DHS subsequently re-evaluated the tiering assignments for those facilities and adjusted the tiering in some cases.

DHS reported that none of the affected facilities will receive a higher-risk tier assignment as a result of this re-evaluation; instead many will be assigned to lower risk tiers or no longer be subject to CFATS regulation. To facilitate compliance with the CFATS program, DHS says it continues to offer various assistance tools, including a help desk, Web-based tools and seminars, and on-site visits to all covered facilities.

The Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates (SOCMA), the US-based trade association representing custom and batch manufacturers, reported on the DHS statement in a SOCMA press release. DHS also had made the announcement at the Chemical Sector Security Summit, which was held in Baltimore earlier this month. The summit is organized by DHS’s Office of Infrastructure Protection as the Chemical Sector-Specific Agency and the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council.

According to the SOCMA release, the DHS changes affected 500 chemical facilities with site vulnerability assessments based on sabotage and release toxic scenarios, not theft and diversion, and the affected facilities represented 10% of all CFATS regulated facilities, The affected facilities were notified about the changes through an electronic letter on June 27.