On June 6, a working group of Federal departments and agencies issued a report to President Obama titled Actions to Improve Chemical Facility Safety and Security – A Shared Commitment. This report is the result of Executive Order 13650, issued in August, 2013, requesting these departments and agencies to:
- Strengthen community planning and preparedness;
- Enhance Federal operational coordination;
- Improve data management within the Federal government, and improve information sharing;
- Modernize policies and regulations, to reflect the most up-to-date practices; and
- Incorporate stakeholder feedback and developing best practices.
The report recognizes that chemical facilities represent a serious challenge for both safety and security. For example, the recent explosion in West, Texas shows the devastation that can be caused when safety systems fail where large quantities of hazardous chemicals are stored. Therefore, government and industry must work together to make facilities and the communities around them as safe and secure as possible.
Steps taken so far include:
- Meetings with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with emergency responders across the country to increase preparedness and share lessons learned.
- Launching a regional pilot program in New York and New Jersey to allow all levels of government to coordinate chemical facility preparedness planning and response activities.
- Sharing data to identify facilities that, based on filings, may not yet be in compliance with required regulations.
- Updating online systems to integrate facility data and to assist facility compliance.
- Work Continue Reading…