Roberts Law Group News

GAO Chemical Security Outreach Report

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently published a report titled “DHS Could Use Available Data to Better Plan Outreach to Facilities Excluded from Anti-Terrorism Standards” (the Outreach Report).
The Outreach Reported noted that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through the Protective Security Advisor Program, has conducted outreach to hundreds of facilities excluded from the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program (i.e., Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) facilities, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Risk Management Program (RMP) facilities, public water systems and wastewater treatment works facilities regulated by the EPA, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) facilities, and Department of Energy (DOE) facilities). The Protective Security Advisor Program helps DHS identify potential security actions at all types of critical infrastructure facilities, including offering and conducting voluntary security surveys and vulnerability assessments.
The Outreach Report stated that many of the CFATS-excluded facilities have CFATS threshold quantities of hazardous chemicals on-site, and that certain excluded facilities are covered by regulatory programs that generally align with at least half of the eighteen CFATS Risk-Based Performance Standards (RBPSs). The MTSA regulation, in particular, was found to align to all CFATS RBPSs.

The Outreach Report found that DHS has not adequately assessed available EPA data, and the GAO recommended that DHS use EPA data to help better inform Protective Security Advisors Program outreach planning decisions and allocate resources to provide the greatest possible risk reduction. DHS concurred with the GAO’s recommendation.