Friday, June 19, 2015

EO 13650 Update Webinar

As I mentioned last week the Chemical Safety and Security Working Group held a webinar earlier today to update the progress that has been made by EPA, DHS, OSHA and ATF on implementing the plan that they presented to the President last year at the conclusion of their initial work on EO 13650 Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security.

I have the same minor complaint about this webinar as I had about the one they held last November; the four presenters basically read the information that I have already pointed out on the OSHA web site. The Working Group did not make available a copy of the slides used for the presentation, but there wasn’t much on them in any case. I would like to thank the folks over at the TaoCompliance web site for making a set of the slides available.

OSHA-EPA Questions

The question and answer portion of the webinar provided some interesting conversations between the regulators and the regulated community and a couple of environmental activists. There were some interesting points made about the changes being made to the PSM (OSHA) and RMP (EPA) regulations that will be coming about because of the EO. What was missing from that conversation, however, was any details about the two subjects of most interest; inherently safer technology and REGAGEP. The most commitment we heard on those topics came from Mathy Stanislaus was that the EPA expected to have a formal guidance document on IST available in the fall of 2016.

The biggest disappointment came when Lisa Long (for OSHA) reminded folks that it normally takes OSHA 6 to 8 years to field a new standard. This was in response to a direct question about when OSHA expected to have their new PSM NPRM published. To be fair she did not say that the PSM update would take 6 to 8 years; she was using those figures to call for patience.

CFATS Questions

I did get a chance to ask David Wulf (Director of Infrastructure Security Compliance Division at DHS) about two chemical security issues; the final rule on ammonium nitrate security (carefully not mentioned on the OSHA update web site) and the CFATS personnel surety program (PSP). David gave the same answer that we have heard for the last two or three years; the final rule is being reviewed within the Department. In the past that has been clarified to mean outside of ISCD. So essentially the politicians and lawyers are playing with it.

The most surprising answer came with respect to my question about the PSP. David said that he expected OMB (meaning their Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs - OIRA) to approve the ICR in the near future. What escaped notice of most people on the webinar is that he could have only been referring to the controversial information collection request that was submitted to OIRA in February of last year.

I was pretty sure that the personnel surety program requirements in HR 4007 would have pre-empted that ICR. I’m absolutely certain that the authors of HR 4007 intended it to pre-empt that ICR. I am going to have to go back this weekend and make a detailed comparison between the two to see how Wulf intends to pull this off.

One thing that he did promise, and again many in Congress and industry will not be happy with this, was that once the ICR was approved ISCD would publish a notice in the Federal Register about how facilities would be implementing the PSP in accordance with that ICR (and presumably the new CFATS statute). Many in industry have been expecting this to be a rule making activity requiring the publish and comment process. Wulf (and most people at DHS) have always expected the current language of 6 CFR 27.230(a)(12) to cover the PSP requirements so that no change to the regulation is needed.

And Wulf did mention in his prepared comments that the CFATS regulation update process that was started last year with the publication of the ANPRM. He noted that ISCD is still reviewing those comments, the comments at the poorly attended public meetings, and is moving forward with preparing the NPRM. No word on when to expect it and I would have been very surprised if there had been any commitment on even a rough date.

NOTE: The audio for this webinar is now available at The slides were not worth much so this audio file should pretty much duplicate the webinar except for the ability to ask questions. Updated 6-26-15 9:45 CDT

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