CFATS Extenison Signed Into Law

On July 22nd, President Trump signed into law a bill, S.4148, to extend the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program to July 27, 2023. The CFATS program focuses on preventing chemicals of interest from being stolen, diverted, sabotaged or deliberately released by terrorists or other bad actors.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implements the CFATS program under a variety of short-term authorizations by Congress. The last extension was part of the initial Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020. At that time, authorization for the CFATS program was set to expire on April 18, 2020.

Under CFATS, chemical facilities possessing more than a threshold amount of specific explosive, toxic, or other “chemicals of interest” determined by DHS, are required to complete a “top-screen,” notifying DHS that they possess such chemicals on site. Once a facility submits its top-screen, DHS can direct the facility to submit a Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA). The SVA provides the basis for DHS to assign the facility to one of four tiers: Tiers 1 and 2 being the highest risk, and Tiers 3 and 4 being the lowest. Tier assignment triggers a requirement to submit a Site Security Plan (SSP) or an Alternative Security Plan (ASP) to DHS for authorization and approval.

 

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