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Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Advisory Opinions

The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program identifies and regulates high-risk chemical facilities to ensure they have security measures in place to reduce the risks associated with these chemicals.

The Infrastructure Security Compliance Division, the office responsible for administering the CFATS program, issues advisory opinions to help clarify CFATS rules, whenever appropriate and in the interest of effective administration of the CFATS program. The advisory opinions are often in response to requests from chemical facilities and industry groups.

Advisory Opinion 2016-001: RBPS-12 Background Check Requirements for Legacy Employees

Read CFATS Advisory Opinion 2016-001.

Summary: Under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), 6 C.F.R. part 27, covered chemical facilities must ensure that background checks are conducted on certain individuals with or seeking access to their restricted areas or critical assets. See 6 C.F.R. § 27.230(a)(12). The attached letter addresses the requirement to conduct these background checks on legacy/long-time employees in addition to conducting them on newer employees. The Department of Homeland Security’s longstanding position and interpretation of 6 C.F.R. § 27.230(a)(12) is that background checks are required to be conducted for all facility personnel with access to restricted areas or critical assets at high-risk chemical facilities, regardless of their length of service, as described in more detail in the attachment.

Advisory Opinion 2016-002: "A Commercial Grade" Interpretation

Read CFATS Advisory Opinion 2016-002.

Summary: Any facility that holds a chemical of interest (COI) listed on Appendix A of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), 6 CFR part 27, at or above the specified Screening Threshold Quantity (STQ) and concentration must report these COI to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) via a Top-Screen survey. A number of COI listed on Appendix A do not have associated specific, numerical minimum concentrations. In lieu of numerical concentrations, the COI are listed with the qualifier “ACG,” which stands for A Commercial Grade. DHS has received multiple inquiries from the stakeholder community requesting clarification of the term “A Commercial Grade.” This advisory opinion contains the Department’s interpretation of the term “A Commercial Grade” as used in CFATS.

Advisory Opinion 2016-003: "Transportation Packaging" Interpretation

Read CFATS Advisory Opinion 2016-003.

Summary: 6 CFR § 27.203(c) requires facilities to include only theft/diversion (T/D) chemicals of interest (COI) that are in transportation packaging, as defined in 49 CFR § 171.8, when determining whether their holdings and COI are at or above the screening threshold quantity (STQ). The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has received multiple inquiries from the stakeholder community requesting clarification of the term “transportation packaging.” This advisory opinion contains the Department of Homeland Security's interpretation of the term as it is used in the CFATS regulations and is not intended to impact the meaning or applicability of any other regulation, including the Hazardous Materials Regulations.

Last Published Date: June 13, 2017

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