Chemical Facility Safety and Security: A Shared Commitment

Executive Order 13650In August 2013, the Obama Administration issued Executive Order (EO) 13650:Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security” that aims to “improve the safety and security of chemical facilities and reduce the risks of hazardous chemicals to facility workers and operators, communities, and responders.” To identify the ways in which improvements can be made in this sector, the EO established the Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group which is made up of officials from six different government agencies: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Justice, Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Transportation. Today, the Working Group released an update report to the president that summarizes its progress, “focusing on actions to date, findings and lessons learned, challenges, and priority next steps.”

Following its analysis of “the current operating environment, existing regulatory programs, and stakeholder feedback,” the Working Group has taken immediate action and developed a “consolidated Federal Action Plan” for future action in five different areas:

  • “Strengthening community planning and preparedness;
  • Enhancing Federal operational coordination;
  • Improving data management;
  • Modernizing policies and regulations; and
  • Incorporating stakeholder feedback and developing best practices.”

According to an EPA press release on the report, now that these areas of improvement have been identified the Working Group is transitioning to the implementation stage. The report maintains that implementation will require even stronger collective efforts among all stakeholders, including “facility owners and operators; Federal, State, tribal, and territorial governments; regional entities; nonprofit organizations; facility workers; emergency responders; environmental justice and local environmental organizations; and communities.”

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