US mulls strength­en­ing chem­i­cal se­cu­rity


Re­cently, the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity co-hosted the 8th An­nual Chem­i­cal Sec­tor Se­cu­rity Sum­mit in Bal­ti­more, Mary­land with fo­cused on strength­en­ing chem­i­cal se­cu­rity and re­silience across the coun­try. High­lights from this year’s sum­mit in­cluded a key­note ad­dress from Na­tional Pro­tec­tion and Pro­grammes Di­rec­torate Un­der Sec­re­tary Suzanne Spauld­ing, who dis­cussed the im­por­tance of hav­ing both a strong cy­ber and phys­i­cal se­cu­rity plan in place. In ad­di­tion, there was a sta­tus re­port on Ex­ec­u­tive on Im­prov­ing Chem­i­cal Fa­cil­ity Safety and Se­cu­rity, a re­view of the Chem­i­cal Fa­cil­ity An­tiTer­ror­ism Stan­dards (CFATS) pro­gramme, the im­por­tance of vol­un­tary pro­grams and re­sources, and con­gres­sional per­spec­tive on cur­rent and fu­ture leg­is­la­tion re­lated to the chem­i­cal sec­tor.

This year’s sum­mit came at an im­por­tant time when the US is begin­ning the tran­si­tion to im­ple­ment­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions brought for­ward un­der the Pres­i­dent’s ex­ec­u­tive order. The sum­mit dis­cussed ar­eas where the US has taken crit­i­cal steps in bring­ing to­gether reg­u­la­tory rep­re­sen­ta­tives and stake­hold­ers with a vested in­ter­est in re­duc­ing the risks as­so­ci­ated with the han­dling and stor­age of chem­i­cals. The sta­tus re­port sum­marises progress, fo­cus­ing on ac­tions to date, find­ings and lessons learned, chal­lenges, and short and long-term pri­or­ity ac­tions, and fo­cus on five spe­cific the­matic ar­eas: strengthen com­mu­nity plan­ning and pre­pared­ness; en­hance fed­eral op­er­a­tional co­or­di­na­tion; im­prove data man­age­ment; mod­ernise poli­cies and reg­u­la­tion and in­cor­po­rate stake­holder feed­back and de­velop best prac­tices.

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