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EPA won't regulate chemical plant security

EPA, the lead federal agency for protecting the nation's chemical industry and hazardous materials critical infrastructure as part of Homeland Security efforts, has released a strategic plan for accomplishing its mission.

Cooperation and guidelines, not regulations, will be used to ensure that chemical facilities are secure from possible terrorist threats. Here are measures EPA will take:

  • EPA will work with industry to develop vulnerability assessment guidance, identify potential security enhancements, examine the feasibility of integrating "inherently safer technologies" and explore with industry the use of third-party verification for security at chemical facilities.

    EPA says the result will be that industry will effectively use tools to assess their site security vulnerability, and based on their assessment, take positive steps to address site security and hazard reduction.

  • Participate on the security subcommittee of the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS), including efforts to develop chemical facility security guidelines and a vulnerability assessment methodology in fiscal year 2002.

  • Assist/review a security code under development by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) in FY2002.

  • Work with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to enhance its security provisions for the management of flammable chemicals in FY2004.

  • Explore with industry the use of third-party verification for security at chemical facilities in FY2003.

  • Integrate consideration of "hazard reduction," including the use of "inherently safer technology" into the above activities in FY2003.

  • Continue to assist the Department of Justice in its effort to develop a vulnerability assessment methodology in FY2003.

  • Work with industry to develop guidance on vulnerability assessments, security enhancements and hazard reduction in FY2003.

  • EPA will assist small and medium-sized enterprises with tools needed to address security concerns. EPA will work with the Small Business Administration to identify important site security concerns for pertinent small businesses. These concerns will include vulnerability assessments, site security enhancements and hazard reduction techniques. Based on these efforts, EPA will then work with SBA to provide outreach materials and technical assistance to small businesses.

    Also, EPA will work with local emergency planning organizations to assist them in understanding site security hazards and prioritizing risks with chemical facilities in their areas.

    You can download the 62-page plan from EPA's Web site at www.epa.gov.

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