IDFA Calls DHS Interim Rule on Chemical Plant Security "Overly Broad"
In comments filed with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) earlier this month, IDFA urges DHS to remove anhydrous ammonia used in refrigeration systems from the chemicals list under the department's interim final rule on chemical plant security. IDFA notes that the rule as drafted is "overly broad" and, if not changed, would subject several million facilities to unnecessary screening. In addition, IDFA suggests removing ambiguous language on chemical mixtures, thresholds and storing chemicals at multiple locations to clarify the intent of the interim final rule and enhance its effectiveness.
Warning that the department may have exceeded the authority granted by Congress, IDFA asks DHS to consider only chemical facilities that would present high-level security risks. Otherwise, the facilities included on the list could number in the millions. IDFA estimates that more than 100,000 food processing, manufacturing and distribution facilities, including 1,200 or more milk, ice cream and cheese plants, would be eligible for screening under the interim final rule.
"Subjecting hundreds of thousands of non-high-risk facilities to a screening process due to DHS's uncertainty about risks is inefficient at best, especially if those risks could have been ruled out without subjecting the entities to the screening process," the comments state.
Instead, IDFA asks DHS to continue working in partnership with food and agriculture companies as a better way to enhance plant security in these sectors. With finite resources, DHS should put its resources where the risk is greatest and where its funding will have the most impact, the comments state.
To read the full comments, click here. For more information, contact Clay Detlefsen, vice president of regulatory affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-220-3554.
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Posted May 7, 2007