A Last Look Back at Chemical Security - Highlights from the Conversation

The first entry I wrote for this blog back in April 2010 was entitled “The Chemical Security Conversation” begins -- and what a conversation it’s been. I hope that we have been able to provide you with relevant news and information and maybe shed some light on a complex topic. Since that first blog we have seen an increase in attention from the industry and more people than ever are talking about chemical security issues.  As with all good conversations this one has evolved as has my own involvement with chemical manufacturers/facilities and industry organizations.  That most precious and finite of resources – time – has become increasingly limited for me and my team.  So, unfortunately after much thought I ‘ve decided that this will be my last blog. It doesn’t mean the conservation ends. It just means it takes a new course and format.  

For this last blog I wanted to focus on some of the highlights of the last two plus years.

Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) has been a focus of this blog and the chemical industry. When I first started blogging we were looking for legislation that would put CFATS in place for the long term. That would help the industry to move forward without the concern of an ever-changing set of mandates. In some ways it seems like we haven’t made much ground on permanent legislation, but the industry and DHS still seem aligned in the desire for long-term legislation and the continuation of a public-private partnership. As Rand Beers, under secretary of Homeland Security for National Protection and Programs, said at the recent 2012 Chemical Sector Security Summit, it is difficult to predict the direction Congress will take with CFATS in 2013.  But, he also pointed out the commitment of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to permanent authorization of CFATS and his belief that if we all work together we can get the job done.

CFATS legislation may seem slow for now, but the process along with industry volunteer programs that are in place have helped move the entire industry in the right direction.  Chemical companies that manufacture distribute or store chemicals have proactively taken steps to become more secure and safe for their personnel and the surrounding communities. The industry has stepped up and taken the responsibility for security seriously and I expect to see that trend continue.  

It was also good news to see some progress in the CFATS Personnel Surety Program. DHS has indicated that it will leverage the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) and other government-issued credentials instead of gathering the same information for yet another form of identification.  

The Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 turns 10 later this year.  The program run by the U.S. Coast Guard is definitely a highlight for the chemical security.  While not perfect, it gets high marks for meeting its goals of making vessels and facilities along U.S. ports and waterways more secure and less vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Many people look to MTSA as a model for the future of chemical security.  DHS and the Coast Guard have being looking to update MTSA with some needed adjustments including incorporating best practices, clarifications and information on screening and training. This update would also include lessons learned from the MTSA TWIC pilot program conducted by the USCG. It is anticipated that the changes, if implemented, would have international effects.

Global Chemical Security
An increased emphasis on global chemical security is another trend I expect to see in the near future.  Many companies that manufacture, distribute and store chemicals of interests (COIs) have facilities throughout the world and they are looking for global solutions. Keeping those facilities and the global chemical supply chain safe are of utmost importance to all of us.

The National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC), formed under the authority of the Maritime Transportation Security Act, is working to harmonize maritime security regulations and operations with Canada and, to a lesser extent, Mexico.  And Canada and the U.S. are also working with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on a Maritime Security Manual which will be a single-source reference tool for maritime transportation security. Other countries involved in the project include Australia, the European Community and the UK.

Project Global Shield is another program worth mentioning. It is a joint effort by DHS, WCO, INTERPOL and the UN Office of Drugs and Crime and has more than 60 nations sharing information with each other to make sure that chemicals moving throughout the globe are being used safely and legally.  We are a global society with worldwide commerce, it only make sense for us to reach out to our allies and other trading partners to put in place global measure to secure our supply chain and keep dangerous materials out of the hands of terrorist.

Those are some of the highlights I wanted to share with you in this last post. It’s hard to say with certainty what will happen with CFATS, but there are a lot of dedicated and hard-working people out doing their best to make the chemical industry as safe and secure as possible.

Speaking of dedicated people, I want to thank my team for its commitment to this blog and helping me to provide you with up-to-date and current information.  I also want to thank organizations such as SOCMA that have contributed valuable information to this effort.

Remember, you will continue to be able to access information on ChemicalProcessing.com.  White papers such as Surviving the CFATS Site Security Plan – Tips for Inspection and Resubmission, Maritime Transportation Security Act - Tips & Updates and Ten Tips for Completing a Site Security Plan will be available. I will also still be working with many companies and organizations involved in chemical security, so I am sure I will be seeing some of you in the future.  Thanks for following and here’s to continuing this important conversation.  

Ryan Loughin is Director of Petro, Chemical & Energy Solutions for Tyco Integrated Security. He and his team have led many petrochemical security projects in North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Loughin has more than 14 years of experience in petrochemical and energy security and provides security education and services to CFATS (Chemical-Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards) and MTSA (Maritime Transportation Security Act) -affected companies. Loughin is a member of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA), Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA), American Chemistry Council (ACC), Energy Security Council (ESC) and American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS). Loughin has worked with hundreds of MTSA and CFATS affected sites and has also provided guidance on many ACC Responsible Care Security Code projects.

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