Published December 2003
Terrorist activities and threats in the wake of September 11 have resulted in various governments demanding that oil refineries, chemical plants and similar facilities undertake activities to identify and minimize the threats of attack or sabotage that could result in the release of harmful chemicals on the surrounding communities.
The United States government has proposed the Chemical Security Act of 2003 (Senate issue 994, House of Representatives issue 1861) requiring that chemical facilities identify their security vulnerabilities; mitigate the threats by conducting Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA); and report the results of these threats to both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Any facility or corporation that employs a chemical or process that could be hazardous to the safety and health of the general public in the event of a release is subject to this pending legislation. Both the Senate and House versions of the bill will require sites to be prioritized based on location, potential interest as a terrorist target, and surrounding population. The act does not necessarily require a chemical facility to drastically change its chemical process or equipment to comply with the regulations. Rather, upgrading routine security, such as patrols, recording of vehicle plate numbers that enter the facility, or background checks conducted on all employees, etc., is the main thrust of the Chemical Security Act.
The European Union and Japan do not, at this time, have similar pending legislation. While many companies in both regions voluntarily prescribe to the enhanced security, safety, and environmentally-conscious practices of the chemical industry Responsible Care Code, no specific legislation addressing improving security at chemical sites has been discovered by this author.
This report highlights the existing and pending legislation involving security vulnerabilities in the United States, the European Union, and Japan. The report then highlights the recommending methodologies that industry trade organizations and professional societies advocate to systematically identify the threats, evaluate the vulnerabilities, and take action steps to minimize the potential consequences.