Industrial Safety

Court rebuffs bid to identify former high-risk chemical sites in U.S.

by Glenn Hess, special to C&EN
April 9, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 15

Credit: Shutterstock

A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not have to identify more than 3,000 chemical facilities that are no longer regulated under a federal antiterrorism program because they have reduced their inventories of toxic chemicals below specific levels. The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program requires facilities that make, use, or store threshold quantities of certain hazardous chemicals to assess their risks, develop site security plans for DHS approval, and put the security measures in place. Environmental group Greenpeace sued to get facility names because it wants to publicize those that have modified operations to use safer chemicals as examples industry should follow, the group says. DHS argues that a site that has exited the CFATS program could reenter later, posing a security risk if its identity is disclosed. When U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the suit on March 31, he said the court would issue an opinion within the next 30 days explaining his decision.


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