Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") issued the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards ("CFATS") to regulate security at "high-risk" chemical facilities in the United States. On November 2, 2007, DHS issued the final CFATS rule.

The CFATS rule requires facilities that possess a chemical of interest at or above a certain level to submit what is called a "Top-Screen" within 60 calendar days of the November 2, 2007 publication date, or within 60 calendar days of coming into possession of a chemical of interest at or above the certain thresholds. Within the next month, facilities that use, manufacture or store chemicals should evaluate if these Homeland Security regulations apply and, if so, complete the Top-Screen within the deadline.

The Top-Screen submittal process may be accessed online at  www.dhs.gov/chemicalsecurity.

This user-friendly survey will take the user through a series of questions to help determine whether further regulation under CFATS applies. DHS will use the Top-Screen submittals to determine on a preliminary basis whether a facility presents a high level of security risk. In many cases, DHS may determine through a facility's Top-Screen that it is not subject to further regulation under CFATS.

The chemicals of interest are identified in Appendix A of the CFATS rule. Appendix A also lists the screening threshold quantities that trigger further CFATS requirements such as:

  • Completion of security vulnerability assessments;
  • Developing site security plans; and
  • Implementing risk-based measures to address DHS-defined risk-based performance standards.