CFATS -- Breaking News

Ryan Loughin

There is a lot of news out there right now about CFATS (Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards). Just this week, letters have been sent out to an additional 878 facilities notifying them of their final tiering. Legislation to make permanent or extend CFATS also is making its way through Congress.

According to DHS, CFATS was created in 2006 to establish security standards for facilities considered to be at high risk.

According to Ryan Loughin, Director of Petrochemical & Energy Solutions for the Advanced Integration division of ADT, CFATS doesn’t just affect chemical plants. It also includes any facility using or storing quantities, above certain threshold levels, of any of the more than 300 chemicals that are on the DHS list of Chemicals of Interest. These facilities can belong to state and local governments and might include hospitals and universities.

DHS has set up a four-tier system with tier I facilities considered the most dangerous and tier four the least dangerous. Loughin said that DHS started sending out letters with the final tiering this summer. A facility has 120 days after receiving this letter to submit a Site-Security Plan.

Loughin said this week the DHS sent out the additional 878 letter as follows:

  • Tier 1 – 46
  • Tier 2 – 36
  • Tier 3 -- 637
  • Tier 4 – 159

DHS is also supposed to be sending another 109 letters to facilities letting them know that they are “tiered out” and no longer covered by the CFATS program.

CFATS expires on October 31, 2009 and legislation is now working its way through congress to expand and make CFATS permanent. According to the American Chemistry Council, the Energy Environment Subcommittee of the House Energy Commerce Committee meets today in open mark-up session. That means the members will review the text of the bill, vote on proposed changes to the language and amendments and most likely vote to send the new version to the house floor for approval.

One proposed change to the bill is that responsibility for municipal water plants fall under CFATS regulation. That will affect more state and city governments, so stay tuned for updates as we get more information. Here is more from Chemical Facility Security News.

--PSW staff

Photo of Ryan Loughin