News Date: 01/14/2008
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced January 9 that it is granting a time extension for farmers and other agricultural users who are required to submit information under new chemical security rules. NASDA is continuing to work with DHS to clarify what the food and agricultural community will need to do in the future.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) completed new chemical security rules in November 2007 called Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS). These regulations require facilities to conduct security assessments, implement a site security plan, and register information on the DHS website (known as the Chemical Security Assessment Tool Top Screen). The rule also required facilities to register and submit this information by January 22, 2008.
More than 300 chemicals are covered by these new rules, including many common agricultural chemicals used in food production and farming, such as propane, chlorine, and ammonium nitrate. NASDA, USDA and other agricultural and food industry organizations have been working with DHS over the past months to discuss our concerns about the scope and impact of the regulations on the agricultural community. DHS has stated that it intended to limit coverage for farmers and other agricultural uses of the listed chemicals, and made an effort to address some of these issues during the rulemaking process. On December 21, 2007, DHS issued a letter granting an extension for farmers and agricultural users until additional information could be gathered. However, the letter raises additional questions and concerns about how the new rules will be applied to agriculture. DHS published the letter in a January 9 Federal Register notice. No specific date for compliance is published in the notice or letter.
NASDA's Food and Agriculture Security Task Force will discuss the chemical security rules during NASDA's upcoming midyear meeting in Washington, D.C. Representatives from the DHS Office of Chemical Security will be attending to meet with NASDA members about this issue. Information about the chemical security rule is available on the DHS website at http://www.dhs.gov/chemicalsecurity. (Contact: Charlie Ingram or Bob Ehart)
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