"Facilities handling large amounts of potentially hazardous chemicals (i.e., chemical facilities) might be of interest to terrorists, either as targets for direct attacks meant to release chemicals into the community or as a source of chemicals for use elsewhere. Because few terrorist attacks have been attempted against chemical facilities in the United States, the risk of death and injury in the near future is estimated to be low, relative to the likelihood of accidents at such facilities or attacks on other targets using conventional weapons. For any individual facility, the risk is very small, but the risks may be increasing - with potentially severe consequences for human health and the environment. Available evidence indicates that many chemical facilities may lack adequate safeguards. This report provides background information and summarizes issues relevant to existing and proposed requirements aimed at reducing risks to the general public of exposure to hazardous chemicals as a result of terrorist acts at U.S. facilities where chemicals are produced, processed, stored, or used. It considers the likelihood and severity of harm that might result from terrorist attacks on chemical facilities, as well as from illicit use of such facilities to gain access to hazardous chemicals (or to precursor chemicals that can be used to produce hazardous chemicals). Federal requirements for contingency planning and responding to chemical emergencies after they occur are not the focus of this report. In addition, it does not consider hazardous materials transport (or storage incidental to transport)."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31530