The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued its interim final rule on Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards on April 9, 2007. (72 FR 17688) The rule, which becomes effective June 8, 2007, applies to chemical facilities determined by DHS to present adverse consequences to human life, national security or the economy in the event of a terrorist attack.
Such “covered facilities” will be required to prepare vulnerability assessments and to submit security plans for DHS approval. DHS’ enforcement power will include Orders Assessing Civil Penalties and Orders for the Cessation of Operations. State laws that conflict with the federal regulation are preempted and certain information would receive greater protection from disclosure under a newly created category called Chemical-Terrorism Security and Vulnerability Information.
A bill authored by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), intended to change the preemption and disclosure provisions, was part of the supplemental military spending bill recently vetoed by President Bush. (H.R. 1591) Debate regarding the preemption provisions is likely to continue.