Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Third-Party Inspectors

Last September I briefly wrote about potential DHS efforts to use third-party inspectors to verify CFATS implementation. At the time of that blog I had heard nothing about any such efforts, other than the inclusion of rules for third-party inspectors in the HR 5577. That changed yesterday when I was reviewing the OMB website, In the Fall 2008 Regulatory Agenda I found reference to a DHS proposal to regulate Third-Party Inspectors for CFATS. While this listing shows that the proposed regulations were ‘withdrawn’ from the regulatory process as of 08-11-08, it is interesting to see what DHS had been considering. The site provides the following abstract of the proposed rule:
“The Department will propose standards for the use of third-party auditors to conduct audits and inspections under its Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism standards found in 6 CFR part 27. The Department will provide details about its proposed use of third-party auditors and will identify those tiers of facilities for which it will use third-party auditors. The Department will also propose standards and requirements for third-party auditors; the Department will consider issues such as the certification, qualifications, independence, objectivity, training, confidentiality, ethical obligations, and conflicts of interest issues of third-party auditors. In addition, the Department will consider the issue of who will pay for third-party auditors.”
Further inspection shows that the proposed regulations first showed up in the Fall 2007 Regulatory Agenda at about the same time that DHS was finishing up work on Appendix A to 6 CFR 27. At that time the expected time to publish the NPRM was August of 2008. At this point it appears that the issue is dead. It will be interesting to see if it arises again when Congress gets around to introducing legislation to extend or make permanent the CFATS regulations.

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