DHS Issues Regs for Chem Plant Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) yesterday issued an interim final rule that for the first time imposes comprehensive security regulations for high risk chemical facilities.

Under the new rule, chemical plants housing certain quantities of specified chemicals must complete a preliminary screening assessment to determine the level of risk associated with the facility. If the plant is deemed to be high risk, then it must submit a security vulnerability assessment and site security plan.

DHS says that security standards will help achieve certain outcomes such as securing the perimeter and critical targets, controlling access, deterring theft of potentially dangerous chemicals, and preventing internal sabotage.

Existing state laws that conflict with the new DHS regulations will be preempted by the rules. However, DHS says it has no reason to conclude that existing laws conflict with the new regulations.

Facilities that don't comply with the new regulations can be fined up to $25,000 per day and can be shut down.