Wednesday, July 20, 2016

DHS Publishes CSAT 2.0 Notice

Today the DHS Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (ISCD) published a notice in the Federal Register (81 FR 47001-47004) outlining the plan for the implementation of their new risk assessment protocol and the revisions to the Chemical Security Assessment Tool that are being called CSAT 2.0. This includes the temporary suspension of requirements to submit Top Screens (TS) and Security Vulnerability Assessments (SVA) effective today.

Three-Step Process

Today’s notice outlines a three-step process that ISCD will be undertaking to implement the new risk assessment protocol and CSAT 2.0. Those steps are:

Temporarily suspend, effective July 20, 2016, the requirement for CFATS chemical facilities of interest to submit a Top-Screen and SVA;
Replace the current CSAT Top-Screen, SVA, and SSP applications with CSAT 2.0 (i.e., the revised CSAT Top-Screen, SVA, and SSP applications) in September 2016; and
Reinstate the Top-Screen and SVA submission requirements in 6 CFR 27.210(a) on October 1, 2016.

The Top Screen and SVA submission suspension affects all chemical facilities that may be required to submit either initial or resubmission Top Screens and SVAs.

Presumably the implementation of CSAT 2.0 will include the publication of new CSAT manuals during the month of September.

Facilities Not Affected

The notice makes clear that four specific classes of facilities will not be affected by the changes included in the implementation of CSAT 2.0. They include:

Agricultural production facilities and miscellaneous extensions;
• Chemical facilities of interest with reportable COI that are only present in a gasoline mixture;
• Statutorily excluded facilities; and
• Untiered facilities that previously notified the department they had no reportable COI.

TS Submission Notifications

Once CSAT 2.0 is up and running ISCD will begin notifying ‘chemical facilities of interest’ of their need to submit a Top Screen. The notice makes it clear that the term ‘chemical facilities of interest’ was used deliberately instead of ‘covered facilities’ because it includes facilities that may have already submitted a Top Screen that indicated that they possessed DHS chemicals of interest (COI) inventories at or above the Screening Threshold Quantity (STQ).

The notification letters will be sent out in a phased manner over a number of months, presumably in a manner reflecting ISCD’s potential risk assessment of the previous information provided. There is no specific language in the notice that would indicate that all facilities that have provided Top Screens to ISCD will be notified to re-submit Top Screens at this time.

Facilities that do not have current COI inventories at or above the STQ will not be required to submit Top Screens to ISCD, even if they are notified by letter to submit a Top Screen. Those facilities may either submit a zero COI Top Screen or otherwise notify ISCD that they have no COI at or above the STQ and will not be submitting a Top Screen.

The notice does state that currently covered facilities that believe that the new risk assessment methodology will result in a lower tiering may submit a Top Screen before being notified by ISCD to do so. This certainly implies that ISCD will be sharing more information about the new risk assessment methodology and that tracks with what I have heard from ISCD privately. I do not expect that they will be sharing their actual model publicly, but they will be sharing more information about how the risk assessment methodology works.

Existing SVAs and SSPs

The notices makes it clear that only completed and submitted SVAs and Site Security Plans (SSPs) will be retained in CSAT 2.0. Partially completed SVAs and SSPs will be lost when CSAT 2.0 is implemented. This is of particular importance to remember this because ISCD will continue to accept new or revised SSP/ASP up until the date of the CSAT 2.0 switch over.

New SVA/SSP Timetable

For the most part, since ISCD expects to make a tiering decision based upon the new Top Screen, there will be no need to delay the SSP submission until after the receipt of the SVA. This notice, therefore, the new SVA and SSP tools in CSAT 2.0 have been designed to have facilities submit both documents concurrently. While more details are expected when the new manuals are published in September, it would seem that there will be more direct sharing of information between the two tools that should make the submission of both documents easier.

This means that ISCD is changing the submission deadline for the SVA from the current 90 days in §27.210(a)(2) to 120 days. It is interesting to note that the current regulation specifically allows ISCD to change that deadline with a Federal Register notice rather than requiring a rulemaking. The notice also makes it clear that the same notification of high-risk and tiering that now initiates the SVA submission requirement also is being used to initiate the SSP requirement. That certainly means that ISCD will be modifying the current notification letters.

Since the SVA and SSP tools will be so closely linked, facilities that revise their SSP will now also be required to revise their SVA at the same time.

Regular Top Screen Submissions

The notice indicates that regular Top Screen submissions for facilities reporting new inventories of COI at or above the STQ will resume on October 1st, 2016. Facilities that acquire such inventories between now and then will have 60-days from October 1st to submit their Top Screen.

CSSS Update

I am sure that there will be more information available at today’s session at the Chemical Sector Security Summit presentation on “Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (ISCD) Regulatory Update”. That session will be web cast at 10:00 am EDT.

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