Securing Our Nation's Chemical Plants: What the DHS Is Doing

Risk assessments underway for major plants, other measures include security the trucking routes, detection sensors, more


  • The Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) of 2002 was signed by President Bush to reduce the risk of a maritime security incident that could result in the loss of life, significant environmental damage, or economic disruption. Many chemical facilities are located near the water and many chemicals are transported via America's waterways; MTSA requires a series of plans at the national, port, and individual vessel and facility levels to improve security for both facilities and vessels. Vessels and facilities that load or carry dangerous cargoes like hazardous chemicals must have individual security plans that address fundamental security measures such as access controls, communications, restricted areas, cargo-handling and monitoring, training, and incident reporting.
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) are working closely with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to address security risks for the nation's freight railroads which are used to transport Toxic Inhalant chemical shipments. TSA, IP and DOT's Research and Special Projects Administration and Federal Rail Administration have completed vulnerability assessment studies in two major metropolitan rail corridors and are developing BZPPs for those areas, which can be applied in other major metropolitan centers throughout the United States. Furthermore, the railroad industry has developed security protocols for hazardous materials that address those products in transit as well as shipments on hand in stockyards and on sidings. Class I railroads employ their own private professional police officers that serve as an integral part of the rail industry's security posture.
  • TSA will soon begin a Hazardous Materials Initiative pilot program that will identify possibilities for real time tracking of selected hazardous materials in a particular railroad supply chain, which will allow the Department and DOT to obtain a clear view of risks and vulnerabilities of that supply chain.
  • The Department has also completed terrorist name checks on all 2.7 million Hazardous Materials truck drivers. No clear terrorist nexus has been established with any of those drivers, and further investigation is being done on the nearly 30 potential matches that were found to determine whether those drivers' Hazardous Materials endorsements will be revoked.