Wanting to improve security at high-risk chemical facilities, the Department of Homeland Security proposed new regulations on Jan. 4 which require chemical facilities fitting certain profiles complete a secure online risk assessment to assist in determining their overall level of risk. High-risk facilities will then be required to conduct vulnerability assessments and submit site security plans that meet the department's performance standards. Performance standards will be designed to achieve specific outcomes, such as securing the perimeter and critical targets, controlling access, deterring theft of potentially dangerous chemicals and preventing internal sabotage.
Failure to comply with performance standards may result in civil penalties up to $25,000 per day, and egregious instances of noncompliance could result in an order to cease operations.
"The consequences of an attack at a high risk chemical facility could be severe for the health and safety of the citizens in the area and for the national economy," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "Congress has provided the department with a critical new authority to set performance standards that are both sensible and disciplined, allowing owners and operators the flexibility to determine an appropriate mix of security measures at their facility under our supervision and subject to our approval."
Most chemical facilities have already initiated voluntary security programs and made significant investments to achieve satisfactory security levels.The regulations will be available for public comment until Feb. 7, 2007.
The Advanced Notice of Rulemaking is available at www.dhs.gov
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