Monday, December 27, 2010

Fall 2010 Regulatory Agenda – Updating MTSA

Last week I looked at the publication of the Administration’s updated regulatory agenda. I looked at the general documents involved and then looked at promised ammonium nitrate regulations and training requirements for the freight rail industry. I had planned to look at updating of the Maritime Transportations Security Act (MTSA) this week. Unfortunately for me, but perhaps fortunately for my readers, this week end an expert on MTSA training issues, Laurie Thomas, addressed that topic on her blog, MTSA News. I highly recommend reading Laurie’s blog posting.

CFATS – MTSA Harmonization

One item not mentioned by Laurie in her blog, nor addressed specifically in the Regulatory Agenda is the issue of harmonizing the chemical security requirements in the MTSA and CFATS regulations. There are a number of water-side chemical facilities that are exempted from the CFATS regulations because they are covered under the MTSA rules. There has been some concern expressed in Congress and in industry about the fact there are two different standards for security that might apply to similar facilities depending on where they are located in port areas. Congress has asked DHS to look at ways of harmonizing the two sets of security rules.

I understand that ISCD and the Coast Guard have essentially completed a memorandum of understanding on how they will coordinate their regulation of high-risk chemical facilities under the two rules. Unfortunately, I have been unable to get anyone at ISCD to discuss that MOU on the record. I understand that there had been some discussion of allowing the Coast Guard to use the CSAT tools to identify those MTSA covered chemical facilities that might require additional security measures. I don’t know if that was included in the final MOU.

I would suspect that an update of the MTSA regulations might include the implementation of this MOU that may have been recently agreed to between these two DHS organizations.

1 comment:

Laurie Thomas said...

PJ, I will be surprised if the update to Subchapter H contains the results of this MOU. This update has been in the works for quite a while. I'm not sure that the content can be informed by events that have happened in the past year or so, simply because the regulatory process is not that agile. I hope I am proved wrong, though! There are several other ways to put the harmonization out to industry that have almost the force of regulations - via a NVIC, via a Policy Advisory Committee document (my bet would be on the NVIC.)

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