Wednesday, October 25, 2017

ISCD Updated More FAQs

Today the DHS Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (ISCD) updated 18 frequently asked question (FAQ) responses on the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Knowledge Center web site. While none of the changes reflect new major policy changes, ISCD did specifically mention these updates in the ‘Latest News’ section of the page.

The FAQ responses that were changed include:

Inconsequential Changes

A number of the changes are inconsequential changes in wording. Typically, they have been made necessary by recent regulatory and legislative revisions to the CFATS program. These include:

• Removing/replacing references to ‘§550’ CFATS program authorization (FAQ# 1178, and FAQ# 1657);
• Removing confusing references to ammonium nitrate “as an explosive” (FAQ# 1228);
• Adding links to CFR references (FAQ# 1228, FAQ# 1382, FAQ# 1481, FAQ# 1743, and FAQ# 1746);
• Removing the name of ISCD Director from the recipient address used to mail CFATS communications (FAQ# 1275, and FAQ# 1756);
• Removing references to the old Tier finalization after SVA submission process (FAQ# 1660);

Previously Announced Policy Changes

Most of the changes in responses were made to reflect policy changes that have been explained in more detail in other places on the CFATS web site. These include:

Added references to the DHS policy of indefinitely extending due dates for Top Screen submissions from facilities with only COI present in a gasoline mixture (FAQ# 1457);
Added comment about ISCD Policy for Assessing a Civil Penalty (FAQ# 1554);
Removed reference to statutory EAP submission deadlines relative only to the initiation of that program (FAQ# 1746);
Removed reference to Memorandum of Understanding between DHS and NRC (FAQ# 1782).

Nuanced Changes in Policy

The remaining changes are more nuanced changes in the wording of the responses, that were made for clarification purposes or to reflect possible minor changes in the way that ISCD looks at an issue.

FAQ# 1194. In the last sentence of the note at the bottom of the FAQ response the words ‘Laboratory quantities of” were replaced with ‘Threshold quantities of’. This reflects the fact the quantities only have to be reported on the Top Screen if they exceed the screening threshold quantity (STQ). Laboratory quantities of theft/diversion and contamination chemicals of interest (COI) need to be included in the inventory used to determine if the STQ has been met.

FAQ# 1373. Adds a brief mention of the 87.5% concentration limit for propane that was outlined in a Federal Register Notice on March 21st, 2008. Unfortunately, the revised FAQ response does not provide the reference (link) for that policy explanation.

FAQ# 1382. Adds a note that COI in piping is only counted for release COI since theft/diversion and contamination COI are only counted when in transportation packaging. This makes sense when explained, but may not have been obvious otherwise.

FAQ# 1635. The wording change in the first paragraph of this response seems to clarify that a “facility may choose [emphasis added] to inform DHS about other chemicals [other than DHS chemicals of interest] at a covered facility that pose risks comparable to, or that substantially contribute to, the risks posed by COI listed in Appendix A” in reference to the discussion of the terms "hazardous materials" in RBPS 5 and "potentially dangerous chemicals" in RBPS 6.

The apparent clarification is muddied by the unchanged wording in the second paragraph of that response that explains that facilities can seek assistance from DHS “in determining which chemicals and hazardous materials must be addressed [emphasis added] under RBPS 5 or 6”.

FAQ# 1735. This FAQ response was changed by removing the following (2nd) paragraph:

“In addition, corporations with numerous CFATS covered facilities may be able to work with DHS to coordinate inspection schedules. This may allow for a staggered inspection schedule, staggered Site Security Plan/Alternative Security Program SSP/ASP submissions and/or multiple inspections to take place in one week, which may provide efficiencies for both DHS and the corporation.”

NOTE: Yesterday’s reported FAQ update was included in today’s ‘Latest News’ listing.

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