U.S. Congress should reauthorize the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, which covers large ammonia facilities, says Kolasky.
Bob Kolasky, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
An official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) is advocating for Congressional renewal of its Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, which expires in January 2019.
CFATS, established in 2007 and most recently reauthorized by Congress for four years in 2014, calls for risk reduction measures at high-risk chemical facilities in possession of certain levels of any of over 300 dangerous chemicals (including ammonia), and helps facilities implement a set of enhanced security standards.
“CFATS needs legislative action to continue the vital work of securing America’s highest-risk chemical facilities,” said Bob Kolasky, acting assistant secretary for the Office of Infrastructure Protection at the Department of Homeland Security, in a presentation he gave at a DHSChemSecurityTalks event in Chicago on July 19. (The text of his presentation, slightly edited, appeared in the August 2018 issue of Accelerate America.)
“Failing to reauthorize CFATS for the long-term could be costly,” he continued. “The persistent terrorist threat that gave rise to the program continues today, and the consequences of a successful attack, could be devastating to our economy and our people.”
Kolasky said industry considers CFATS “an important contributor to national security” and has advocated for Congress to reauthorize the program.
“CFATS needs legislative action to continue the vital work of securing America’s highest-risk chemical facilities.”
– Bob Kolasky, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
DHS requires facilities with 20,000 lbs or more of ammonia at a concentration of 20% or higher, or with 10,000 lbs or more of anhydrous ammonia at concentrations of 1% or higher, to register with the CFATS program and fill out what’s called a Top-Screen online at https://csat-registration.dhs.gov/. The information in the Top-Screen is used to determine the risk posed by the facility.
Those facilities considered to be at risk are placed into one of four tiers, based on the degree of risk. If a facility isplaced in one of the tiers, it must then conduct a security vulnerability assessment (SVA) and a ite security plan. An SVA takes into consideration factors such as the location of the facility, the location of the ammonia storage within the facility and other factors.
Then, DHS visits the facility and goes over the security plan, which, once approved, must be followed by the facility.
DHS, said Kolasky, “is committed to continuing to work with Congress and stakeholders to reauthorize CFATS and build on the vital work that has been accomplished reduce our risk and elevate security.“As the January reauthorization deadline is fast approaching,” he continued, “we cannot let our guard down in protecting America’s chemicals from terrorism.”