07 March 2012 02:23 [Source: ICIS news]
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HOUSTON (ICIS)--The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) needs to implement a more workable personnel security programme for chemical facilities, a representative of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) told Congressional committee on Tuesday.
Testifying on behalf of the ACC, Dow Chemical chief security officer Timothy Scott told the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cyber-security, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies ways in which to improve implementation of the US Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) programme.
He urged the DHS to implement a more workable personnel security programme for CFATS facilities to properly vet thousands of employees and contractors against the US Terrorist Screening Database.
Also, the DHS should improve transparency by making facilities aware of how CFATS risk tiering decisions are made by the agency and how changes by the facility could lower their CFATS risk profile, Scott said.
Finally, Scott urged the DHS to consider an alternative inspection programme for lower security risk tier facilities using accredited third-party auditors.
This would help streamline the programme by lessening the burden on the DHS inspection team and allow the DHS to focus resources and attention on higher risk facilities, he said.
The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) also testified in Congress regarding the CFATS programme.
Bill Allmond, SOCMA’s vice president of government and public relations, said in testimony before lawmakers that the US Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) scheme is a success - despite the department's management failings.
Allmond was testifying at a congressional hearing that was aimed at addressing problems with CFATS.
In addition to becoming more cooperative and transparent, Allmond said the DHS needed “to retrain and likely replace much of the staff that administers the CFATS programme.”
“The key to fixing CFATS is vigorous oversight, not budgetary uncertainty or budget cuts,” he added.
Since CFATS launch in 2007, SOCMA members alone have invested about $515m (€391m) in safeguarding their plants, the group said.
($1 = €0.76)
Additional reporting by Stefan Baumgarten
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