EPA, DHS and the Department of Labor Issue Joint Chemical Facility Safety Report

In August 2013, President Obama issued Executive Order 13650 Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities and reduce risks to facility workers and operators, communities, and responders.
The Tri-Chairs of the Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group (the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor, and the Environmental Protection Agency) established by Executive Order 13650 submitted a status report to the President, Actions to Improve Chemical Facility Safety and Security – A Shared Commitment, which was publicly released on June 6, 2014.
The report summarizes the Working Group’s progress, focusing on actions to date, findings and lessons learned, challenges, and short and long-term priority actions.  These priority actions are captured in a consolidated action plan, based on the information collected by the Working Group, and focus on specific five thematic areas:

  • Strengthen Community Planning and Preparedness
  • Enhance Federal Operational Coordination
  • Improve Data Management
  • Modernize Policies and Regulation
  • Incorporate Stakeholder Feedback and Develop Best Practices

State drinking water programs should be particularly interested in the Report’s recommendation that the existing waiver for water and wastewater utilities from the requirements of the CFATS (Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards) Act be removed, thus calling for these utilities to meet many of the same requirements as chemical manufacturing facilities.
Separately, the Report includes a complete section, 3.4.7. Work with States to Improve Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Measures to Prevent and Prepare for Chemical Spills.  This section describes EPA’s proposed efforts to “…encourage States to review and update existing source water assessments if necessary, including potential inclusion of information available through various chemical regulatory programs to determine whether adequate preventive measures are in place.”  This is an outgrowth of the West Virginia spill as well as other recent incidents.
You can download the report http://www.osha.gov/chemicalexecutiveorder/and read a joint EPA-DHS-DOL blog article http://social.dol.gov/blog/a-shared-commitment-improving-chemical-facility-safety-and-security/#more-12813 about the issuance of the report.  Finally, a fact sheet is attached for your reference as well.
Attachment: Chem EO Fact Sheet 6-6-2014