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Terminal News

Security for the US’ highest risk chemical terminals

Security for the US’ highest risk chemical terminals
Created to mitigate the concerns that chemical terrorism is a significant threat, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) programme is the US' first regulatory programme focused specifically on high-risk chemical facilities and how to prevent them from being exploited in a terrorist attack.

Established in 2007 to address this threat to the chemical industry, the comprehensive programme, which is administered by the Department of Homeland Security though the Infrastructure Security Compliance Division, fosters security at high-risk chemical facilities.

The programme centers on a list of 322 chemicals of interest that, at specific threshold quantities or concentrations, trigger a requirement for a facility to report to CFATS.

If a facility or terminal has on site one or more of the chemicals at or above the quantities or concentrations stipulated on the list, the facility is required to submit information to the programme, where its team of assessors run it through its risk assessment methodology.

In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine David Wulf, director of infrastructure security compliance division, says that the division works closely with facilities to deliver a comprehensive site security plan.

'In that plan, the facility addresses various risk-based performance measures such as physical security, cyber security and incident response as well as measures focused on personnel surety.

'We then collect information and if a site security plan looks appropriate, we inspect the facility prior to approval. We then re-inspect the facility every 18 months or so.'

Wulf continues: 'The programme was established in response to a general sense that chemical terrorism is a significant threat.

'The CFATS programme is a non-prescriptive programme and we prioritize working with the facility to ensure they have the right site security plan. Our risk-based performance indicators are flexible according to the needs and requirements of the facility. It is a very smart 21st century framework.'

Since its creation in 2007, the progamme has continued to evolve and develop, including enhancements to its risk tiering methodology, incorporating data to get a better picture of high-risk facilities in the country and development of, and an expedited pathway to approval of the site security plan.

The programme, which covers industries including tank terminals, refining, chemical manufacturers and laboratories, was reauthorised by Congress for several more years in 2014.

Wulf adds: 'The feedback has been overwhelmingly favourable. We have broad support across a wide variety of industry stakeholders.

'Overall, the feedback has been that the CFAS programme is well suited to the task and raises the bar for security across the industry. The flexibility of the programme is really important, as is the co-operative relationship we have built with industry members and our ability to consult on options has been well-received.

'Our industry stakeholders advocate for us to Congress and we really appreciate the relationship we have with the ILTA and the support they give us.

'Chemical security is not a temporary issue. As threats evolve, the department is committed to working with stakeholders to protect the highest-risk chemical infrastructure in the US.'

Wulf will be providing an update to terminal facility security and what owner/operators need to know during the ILTA conference on June 3-4 in Houston. For more information on the event visit