Chemical industry security voluntary or mandatory approach?
Baldauf, Paul D.
Mackin, Thomas J.
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A successful attack on a hazardous materials storage facility has the potential to cause mass casualties and panic. There are approximately 15,000 such facilities across the country that handle these toxic and flammable substances at levels exceeding Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory thresholds. Although the risk and consequences vary greatly among these sites, there are a significant number of facilities with tens of thousands of individuals who live and work in the vulnerability zone. Until P.L. 109-125 was enacted on October 4, 2006, which required the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue interim final regulations establishing risk-based performance standards, the Federal government policy for securing chemical facilities from terrorist attack relied entirely upon voluntary actions by industry. Though it is sure to create controversy, this thesis proposes the need for new regulations that secure the chemical industry from terrorist attack. We propose new legislation that mandates standards for chemical industry security yet also addresses the economic and implementation issues associated with a typical command and control structure. DHS, in close partnership with the EPA, is best suited to undertake this responsibility. In addition, State delegation of oversight responsibility is necessary to address the resources required to handle such a large number of sites. The facilities of concern are those subject to the EPA Risk Management Program. Public participation in terms of information sharing, preparedness exercises, and protective actions is vital to reduce the fear and anxiety inherent to acts of terrorism. Inherently Safer Technology evaluations are recommended for the chemical facilities of concern through regulatory amendments to the Clean Air Act Section 112. It is imperative that States retain the ability to be more restrictive, as warranted, to ensure that preparedness is measured in line with potential vulnerabilities. A one size fits all standard is not practical across our diverse nation. A minimum standard set by DHS will ensure a level playing field for the chemical industry with the understanding that jurisdictions with unique vulnerabilities have the ability to implement stricter standards to adequately safeguard their citizens.
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