The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has “authorized”—or given preliminary approval to—more than half of the nearly 4,000 high-risk facilities covered under its chemical plant security program.
DHS says 2,039 of the 3,882 facilities covered under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program had passed at least the midway point of the regulatory process as of Sept. 1 by having their site security plans approved by department officials.
CFATS, which the department established in 2007, identifies and regulates high-risk chemical facilities.
The department notes that 1,060 of the 3,882 facilities have had their security plans fully approved. DHS inspectors have visited these sites and verified that the facilities have implemented security measures that meet CFATS requirements.
The number of facilities covered by CFATS is falling. In August, there were 3,986, but 104 sites dropped out of the program during the past month. Facilities are no longer considered high-risk targets if they reduce their on-site holdings of about 300 “chemicals of concern” or make process changes that mitigate risk.
The latest figures are further evidence that CFATS “compels companies to reduce inherent hazards,” says William E. Allmond IV, vice president of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates, an industry group. This is occurring “not through regulatory mandates but on an individual company’s expert judgment to implement changes where they make the most sense,” he says.