CFATS Update: Almost 4,000 Facilities in Final Tier

Earlier this month, presented an ADT-sponsored webinar focused on CFATS & MTSA Security: Tips & Regulatory Updates. The hour-long webinar addressed issues that chemical plants face in an effort to comply with the anti-terrorism standards.

Ryan Loughin, director of Petrochem & Energy Group at ADT and Steve Roberts, attorney at law at Roberts Law Group were both keynote speakers. The majority of the event centered on questions presented from industry professionals about CFATS compliance and the waiting period between security authorizations.

Loughin presented new CFATS facility tier figures as of July 6. He showed that approximately 3,951 facilities are in the final tier, while 616 facilities are awaiting final tier status. To date, there are 99 tier one SSPs and no SSPs have been fully approved, yet. No one has a letter of approval. A few have had a conditional inspection based on preliminary approval (letter of inspection) and a team has come out to inspect the site. The speakers addressed that most CFATS inspections are typically scheduled for a five-day period with five to eight inspectors. But the length of the inspection really depends on how prepared the site is.

Neither speaker could provide a clear answer pertaining to what people can start doing to implement security measures while awaiting SSP approval -- both stated that this issue is a problem.

Quite a few regulations are still in the testing stage and have yet to be fully developed. A CFATS/MTSA Harmonization Update revealed that no real progress has taken place in developing in-depth MTSA and CFATS site regulations, only preliminary phases.

Roberts addressed the proposal for updating MTSA II regulations examining risks, standards and interpretation of regulations. As far as how companies can manage their CFATS initiative, the overall suggestion for companies, was to implement basic security needs in advance of getting official authorization -- for example, monitoring systems on fence lines. It really depends on what the company already has in place and what improvements are being requested.

One concern presented by webinar attendees pertained to the new ammonium nitrate law. The law isn’t a regulation yet and it is separate from CFATS and may or may not be subject to CFATS. The registration rule is really after the theft aversion issue in the ammonium nitrate problem. Yes, they are related but they are two separate problems. There is no final regulation or draft yet.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released three federal register notices for submitting requirements to the terrorist screening database (TSDB) under CFATS Personnel Surety Program (PSP) on June 11. They include:

  • Notice of proposed rulemaking proposing privacy act exemption for CFATS personnel surety program system of records.
  • Response to comments received during 30-day CFATS personnel surety program information collection request.
  • Notice of privacy act system of records for the CFATS personnel surety program.

DHS is following up on notices relating to the terrorist screening database. The DHS is seeking information from two classes of personnel -- facility personnel and unescorted visitors referred to as “affected individuals.”

DHS will require high-risk chemical facilities to have “affected individuals” submit full name, date of birth and citizenship for U.S. Citizens and lawful residents. Non-U.S. persons must submit full name, date of birth, citizenship, passport and/or Alien registration number. This information is being asked to reduce the number of false positives in matching against the TSDB.

DHS will only provide companies a receipt of the submitted information, but no results pertaining to background screening. Attorney Roberts predicts within the next year, DHS will further define the problem and measures.

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