The Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group, a federal government working group set up after an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, in 2013 has released recommendations that agencies should consider new rules for the storage and handling of chemicals.
Established by Executive Order 13650 issued in response to the blast, the working group has developed a preliminary list of options for improving chemical facility safety and security for further discussion and comment.
The report, Actions to Improve Chemical Facility Safety and Security — A Shared Commitment, 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, captured in a consolidated action plan, based on the information collected by the Working Group, focus on five specific 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
The working group says the report is a milestone, not an endpoint. While the report describes many activities already undertaken to improve chemical facility safety and security, it also makes clear that much additional work is necessary to implement the consolidated action plan. Implementation will take time and require a collective effort of all those with a stake in chemical facility safety and security.
In other policy news, earlier this month, the Obama Administration released the Clean Power Plan proposal, which for the first time cuts carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. The proposal will protect public health, move the United States toward a cleaner environment and fight climate change while supplying Americans with reliable and affordable power.