Chemical Security List Amended, but Could Still Affect Renderers

Provided by the National Renderers Association


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released an interim final rule in April 2007 that imposed comprehensive federal security regulations for high-risk chemical facilities (see “Tech Topics,” August 2007 Render). The regulation, which went into effect in June except for Appendix A to part 27, could impact hundreds of thousands of plants including food and rendering plants. Many chemicals in common mixtures and products could be subject to regulation under this rule.

In response to comments received on Appendix A of the interim final rule, including from agriculture groups such as the National Renderers Association and American Feed Industry Association, DHS has released “Appendix A: DHS Chemicals of Interest” of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards. The regulation was published in the Federal Register November 20, 2007. Facilities will have 60 days to complete a “Top Screen” submission after the rule is published. A copy of the final Appendix A rule has been posted on the DHS Web site at www.dhs.gov/xprevprot/laws/gc_1166796969417.shtm.

The following are some of the key changes in the final rule:

1) Propane is covered in the final rule. The screening quantity is 60,000 pounds (lbs.), and individual tanks of less than 10,000 lbs. do not need to be counted.

2) Chlorine is still on the list, but the quantity has been adjusted upwards to 2,500 lbs. In addition, small containers must be counted if there are more than five in a location, due to possible use as an improvised explosive device multiplier.

3) Ammonia has been adjusted to the risk management program (RMP) threshold quantity of 10,000 lbs., as expected.

4) Urea and acetone have both been removed from the Appendix A list and will not need to be reported.

5) Other chemicals on the list have been generally adjusted to the RMP quantity. In addition, those chemicals that were listed as “any quantity” now have a specific amount that will generally exclude “small” quantities used for lab or research purposes.

Background

This rule established risk-based performance standards for the security of the United States’ chemical facilities. It requires covered chemical facilities to prepare security vulnerability assessments, which identify facility security vulnerabilities, and to develop and implement site security plans, which include measures that satisfy the identified risk-based performance standards.

The new rule gives DHS the authority to seek compliance through imposition of civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day, and the ability to shut down non-compliant facilities. DHS will require owners of chemical facilities housing certain quantities of specified chemicals to complete a preliminary screening assessment that determines the level of risk associated with the facility. If a chemical facility preliminarily qualifies as high risk, its owners will be required to prepare and submit a security vulnerability assessment and site security plan. Submissions will be validated through audits and site inspections. DHS says it will provide technical assistance to facility owners and operators as needed. Security standards will be required to achieve specific outcomes, such as securing the perimeter and critical targets, controlling access, deterring theft of potentially dangerous chemicals, and preventing internal sabotage.

The Top Screen will place each facility in one of four tiers that rank the facility in regard to risk, with Tier 1 being the highest level risk and Tier 4 being the lowest. The facilities in Tier 1 will be contacted immediately by DHS, with many already contacted. The facilities in Tier 1 will be required to complete the Top Screen process and develop the required security vulnerability analysis and site security plan.

Renderers May Have to Report

The bottom line is that DHS wants to know where dangerous chemicals are kept, and they want the more dangerous chemicals and larger amounts secured. Plants handling significant quantities of chemicals listed in Appendix A, including ammonia and propane, will need to go online and fill out the Top Screen.

In most cases, rendering plants are likely to be in the lower tiers and providing the Top Screen information will fulfill the obligation renderers have under this new regulation with no further action required.


December 2007 RENDER | back