DHS Gets Serious about CFATS

According to an external memo from DHS, the department is beginning to enforce compliance. It's sending 18 chemical companies letters notifying them they have 10 days to complete a Site Security Plan (SSP). The DHS memo said that all 18 offending companies were sent their final tiering letter -- giving them 120 days to complete a SSP -- and all of the compliance deadlines were on or before February 15 of this year. DHS said it had sent follow up warning letters to all 18 facilities.

The chemical companies now have the choice of completing the SSP or contesting the order following the steps outlined in the CFATS regulations. If they do neither, DHS could use civil action to fine them up to $25,000 a day and/or even go in and shut down operations.

DHS started inspecting site for SSP approval in February and at a hearing in March the department said it had received more than 1,600 SSPs which is about 25 percent of facilities falling under the CFATS mandate.

It seems that the department wants to send a message to CFATS facilities that they are serious about compliance and are going to take action against companies ignoring or lagging in compliance. DHS has done a lot of outreach to help facilities understand and meet the CFATS mandate and now they seem to be saying that companies have had adequate time and access to information to put together an initial plan.


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