Monday, April 26, 2010

Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board Planning IST Investigation

Posted by Roberts Law Group, PLLC at 10:52 AM 4 comments
The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) announced Friday in the Federal Register that they have drafted a task assignment for the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), titled "Study on Inherently Safer Chemical Processes: The Use of Methyl Isocyanate at Bayer CropScience." The study will be held pursuant to the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2010 [Pub. L. 111-88], directing the CSB to conduct "a study by the [NAS] to examine the use and storage of methyl isocyanate including the feasibility of implementing alternative chemicals or processes and an examination of the cost of alternatives at the Bayer CropScience facility in Institute, West Virginia." Friday's Federal Register notice outlines the scope of the study and establishes a 15-day public comment period.

Specifically, the CSB is interested in public comments regarding the following four topics:
  • Does the proposed Task Statement include the appropriate topics for consideration by the NAS?
  • If funds are available, should the CSB initiate a second, related study to consider the feasibility, costs, and benefits of inherently safer alternatives to other chemicals?
  • What kinds of backgrounds and expertise should be represented on the NAS panel?
  • Is the proposed timetable appropriate?
Comments are due no later than May 10, 2010, and should be submitted by email to, referencing Docket Number CSB-10-01 in the subject line.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Homeland Security Advisory Council Announces May Teleconference

Posted by Roberts Law Group, PLLC at 12:08 PM 0 comments
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Monday in the Federal Register that its Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) will hold a teleconference meeting on May 13, 2010, in order to receive the initial report of the Counter Violent Extremism Working Group (CVEW). CVEW was formed last January in order to coordinate counter-violent extremism efforts across DHS.

All members of the public are welcome to join by dialing into the teleconference, which will take place from 4PM to 5PM EST. Anyone wishing to participate in the teleconference must provide full legal name, e-mail address and phone number no later than 5 p.m. EST on May 11, 2010, to a staff member of the HSAC via e-mail at or via phone at (202) 447-3135. Any written comments submitted by the public before the meeting must be received electronically by May 7, 2010 and should reference Docket Number DHS-2010-0030.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

DHS Publishes CFATS Personnel Surety Request for Comments in Federal Register

Posted by Roberts Law Group, PLLC at 2:59 PM 0 comments
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Tuesday published in the Federal Register a 30-day notice and request for comments (representing a new information collection request (ICR)) relating personnel surety as outlined under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS). Tuesday's 30-day ICR follows a separate 60-day public notice for comments originally published June 10, 2009, to which seventeen comments were submitted last year.

Specifically, DHS is interested in comments that:
  • Respond to DHS’s interpretation of the population affected by RBPS–12 background checks, as outlined in 6 CFR 27.230(a)(12);
  • Respond to fact that DHS or a Federal law enforcement agency may, if appropriate, contact the high-risk chemical facility as a part of a law enforcement investigation into terrorist ties of facility personnel;
  • Respond to DHS's intention to collect information that identifies the high-risk chemical facilities, restricted areas and critical assets to which each affected individual has access; and
  • Respond to DHS on its intention to seek an exception to the notice requirement under 5 CFR 1320.8(b)(3).
Comments to the latest ICR are due no later than May 13, 2010, and should be submitted online, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, referencing Docket Number DHS–2009–0026.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Federal Railroad Administration Publishes Information Request Collection Notice in Federal Register

Posted by Roberts Law Group, PLLC at 2:42 PM 0 comments
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on Friday published in the Federal Register a 60-day notice of their intent to file an Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), marking an initial step towards the establishment of an online reporting system that would allow the public to report "potential violations of Federal railroad safety and hazardous materials transportation laws.” FRA seeks OMB approval for the specific information being proposed to be collected on the Alleged Violation Reporting Form (Form FRA F 6180.151), which will be an online reporting tool. This public safety-reporting tool implementation is required by §307(b) of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

The 60-day comment period will end on June 7, 2010. Comments may be transmitted via fax to (202) 493-6216 or (202) 493-6497, or via e-mail to or Submissions must include a reference to “OMB control number 2130-New”.

Friday, April 9, 2010

DHS and CSCC to Host Chemical Security Seminar in July

Posted by Roberts Law Group, PLLC at 2:20 PM 0 comments
The Department of Homeland Security's Office of Infrastructure Protection and the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council (CSCC) announced earlier this year that they will co-host the 2010 Chemical Sector Security Summit July 7-8, in Baltimore, Maryland. Attendance is free of charge.

The annual Chemical Sector Security Summit is an opportunity for security professionals with a need to know the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) or other chemical security- or transportation security-related issues to exchange information with other members of industry. Attendees will also have an opportunity to learn the latest status of CFATS and pending chemical security legislation, as well as to gain insight into the role of various government agencies and departments with a hand in chemical and transportation security. Of note, the Summit will include some discussion of lessons-learned during the very first CFATS inspections that have occurred early this year. A preliminary agenda can be found here. Interested parties can register here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

PHMSA Proposes Changes in Combustible Liquids Shipping Regulations

Posted by Roberts Law Group, PLLC at 12:52 AM 0 comments
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on Monday published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in the Federal Register that would provide changes to the hazardous materials regulations (HMR) [at 49 CFR Parts 100-185]. The ANPRM, published at 75 Fed. Reg. 17111-19, would harmonize the regulations for shipments of combustible liquids with international hazmat shipping regulations. PHMSA proposes the change in the HMR based on three petitions submitted by the International Vessel Operators Hazardous Materials Association, the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council, and U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc.

Under the ANPRM, PHMSA seeks comment from industry on the potential harmonization of HMR definitions and requirements for combustible liquids with international standards, as well as the modification of domestic marking and placarding of combustible liquids in order to eliminate confusion upon shipment overseas and the possible expansion of current HMR exceptions for combustible liquids to also accommodate unique operational requirements.

The public ANPRM comment period ends July 6, 2010. PHMSA is accepting electronic comment submissions via the Federal eRulemaking Portal using docket number PHMSA-2009-0241 (HM-242). Comments may also be submitted via fax, (202) 493-2251, or via mail, to:Docket Management System; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

Friday, April 2, 2010

DHS Updates Counterterrorism Laws & Regulations Webpage

Posted by Roberts Law Group, PLLC at 3:54 PM 0 comments
Late last month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) updated its Laws & Regulations webpage in the Counterterrorism section of its website. Under Chemical Security, DHS updated the Paperwork Reduction Act Notices for Comment subsection by adding three notes regarding Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of three Information Collection Requests (ICRs): OMB Collection #'s 1670-0007, 1670-0014, and 1670-0015. All three of these ICRs will be good until March 19, 2013.

OMB Collection #1670-0007

OMB 1670-0007 was an update of a previously-approved ICR dealing with the basic forms included in the Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT). It includes the forms for: CFATS Helpdesk, Chemical-terrorism Vulnerability Information (CVI) Authorization, CSAT User Registration, CSAT Top-Screen, CSAT Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA), CSAT Alternative Security Program (ASP) submitted in lieu of the CSAT SVA, CSAT Site Security Plan (SSP), and ASP submitted in lieu of the CSAT SSP.

This update included a significant decrease in the number of expected annual responses expected for these forms, based on the fact that most facilities who have already submitted the initial CFATS Top-Screen will not submit future additional Top-Screens or SVAs, unless there is a significant modification in the amount or type of COI stored on site.

OMB Collection #1670-0014

OMB 1670-0014 was a new request covering forms used in: Request for Redetermination, Request for an Extension, Notification of New Top-Screen, and Request for a Technical Consultation. These forms were not included in the original CSAT ICR and are an outgrowth of the original CFATS documents.

OMB Collection #1670-0015

OMB 1670-0015 was a new request covering forms used in the administration of CVI. These forms include: the Chemical-terrorism Vulnerability Information Tracking Log, Notification of CVI Access Exigent Circumstances, Report of Potential Release of CVI, Request for Determination of CVI, CVI Authority, and Determination of a Public Official’s Need to Know. With the exception of the CVI Authority, these forms were not included in the original CSAT ICR.