In the light of today’s increased vigilance, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now also imposing comprehensive federal security regulations for what are considered to be “high-risk” chemical facilities that manufacture, use, store, or distribute certain chemicals. However, many of the substances in the list of Chemicals of Interest (COI) were not provided with a minimum threshold at which reporting would be required. This means that a large number of facilities manufacturing, using, storing or distributing any quantity of these substances will be subject to the new rule, even if they are not normally considered to be a “high risk” facility under other environmental regulations such as EPA’s “Risk Management Plan Rule” or OSHA’s “Process Safety Management Rule”. Appendix A of the CFATS containing the potential list of COI was released earlier this year. On November 20, 2007, DHS published the final version of Appendix A in the Federal Register.
With this formal publication, all provisions of the rule are now in effect. If a COI is present at a facility, that facility is required to comply with this new regulation. To comply, a facility must complete and submit what is called a “Top-Screen” assessment. The deadline in the CFATS final rule for submission of a Top Screen assessment is 60 calendar days from the date of publication of Appendix A in the Federal Register. This means that for many facilities, there is a lot of work to be done between now and January 20, 2008.