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.
Initially authorized by Congress in 2007, the program uses a dynamic multi-tiered risk assessment process and requires facilities identified as high-risk to meet and maintain performance-based security standards appropriate to the facilities and the risks they pose. DHS chemical security inspectors work in all 50 states to help ensure facilities have security measures in place to meet CFATS requirements.
On December 18, 2014, the President signed into law the Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act of 2014 (“the CFATS Act of 2014”), which recodifies and reauthorizes the CFATS program for four years.
For more information about the CFATS program, please contact CFATS@hq.dhs.gov.
CFATS Act of 2014
This new legislation lays the foundation for the continued maturation of the CFATS program, adding new provisions while preserving most of the existing regulations. Significantly, it establishes an Expedited Approval Program, which may allow chemical facilities in Tiers 3 and 4 to move to an approved site security plan more quickly.
DHS has also established an e-mail address where potential CFATS violations may be reported (CFATSTips@hq.dhs.gov), in addition to the existing CFATS Chemical Facility Security Tip Line (1-877-394-4347; 1-877-FYI 4 DHS). Any individual may report a potential CFATS violation to the Department, and chemical facilities of interest are prohibited by law from retaliating against an employee or contractor for reporting the potential violation.
Development of the Interim Final Rule
The Department has released an interim final rule that imposes comprehensive federal security regulations for high-risk chemical facilities in possession of specific quantities of specific chemicals of interest.
This rule establishes risk-based performance standards for the security of our nation’s chemical facilities. It requires covered chemical facilities to prepare Security Vulnerability Assessments (SVAs), which identify facility security vulnerabilities, and to develop and implement Site Security Plans (SSPs), which include measures that satisfy the identified risk-based performance standards. (NOTE: Per the notice published in the Federal Register on July 20, 2016, DHS has temporarily suspended the requirement to submit a CSAT Top-Screen and Security Vulnerability Assessment as the Department improves the tiering methodology process.)
It also allows certain covered chemical facilities, in specified circumstances, to submit Alternate Security Programs (ASPs) in lieu of an SVA, SSP, or both. Covered chemical facilities that have successfully implemented their approved SSP/ASP and have passed a CFATS inspection will be considered as compliant with the required performance standards.
Although Section 550 of the DHS Appropriations Act of 2007 gives the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security the authority to issue interim final regulations without prior notice and comment, the Department chose to release an Advance Notice of Rulemaking (ANRM) on December 21, 2006; this notice sought comments on the proposed text for the interim final rule as well as on various implementation and policy issues related to the chemical security program. The Department received numerous and helpful comments from a variety of stakeholders, analyzed these recommendations, and incorporated many of them in the Interim Final Rule.