The U.S. chemical industry is a $550 billion economic engine that employs one million Americans, supports another four million related jobs and accounts for 10 percent of all U.S. exports. Since more than 96 percent of U.S. manufactured products are touched by chemistry, we must never let this essential part of America’s critical infrastructure become vulnerable to harm.
This is why ACC’s members are in the vanguard of securing chemical facilities, and why ACC has embraced our leadership role both within the industry and with our crucial business and governmental partners. Representing more than 2,000 facilities and 85 percent of the nation’s chemical manufacturing capacity, ACC strongly believes America must protect and defend its chemical industry because our products are essential for every aspect of modern life.
Having led the charge for effective chemical facility security legislation since February of 2003, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) was gratified to see Congress pass this legislation at the end of 2006, H.R. 5441, the Homeland Security Appropriations Act. Section 550 of the law establishes a new federal program to regulate security at chemical facilities. It mandates that the Department of Homeland Security issue regulations by April 4, 2007. The rules must:
establish risk-based performance standards for the security of chemical facilities;
require facilities to conduct vulnerability assessments;
require facilities to develop and implement site security plans.
In addition to this legislation, following 9/11, without waiting for the federal government, members of ACC moved aggressively to secure their facilities by adopting the widely praised Responsible Carer Security Code, which addresses the three pillars of chemical security: facility, information (cyber) and transportation.
ACC’s Responsible Carer initiative exemplifies our members’ resolve to continually improve their environmental, health, safety and security performance. Responsible Carer, which is mandatory for all ACC member companies, requires third-party certification of an integrated management system (Responsible Care Management Systemr), and company specific, publicly-available performance metrics, as well as strategic partnerships with chemical industry stakeholders. Under Responsible Carer, ACC members have attained a safety record 4.5 times better than the average in U.S. manufacturing, and they are twice as safe as the overall business of chemistry. They’ve reduced fuel and power consumption by 46 percent since 1970 and greenhouse gas intensity by more than 26 percent in the past five years.
Pillar #1 – Enhancing Facility Security
A chemical facility is a vast complex of personnel, systems, buildings, vehicles, equipment, raw materials, finished products and transportation access points. Securing a facility is challenging, but the Responsible Carer Security Code requires member companies to prioritize their facilities; develop risk and vulnerability assessments, using methodologies developed at Sandia National Lab and the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS); create and implement facility security enhancements commensurate with risks; obtain third-party verification of this implementation, and document all security management programs, processes and procedures. Since 9/11, ACC members have invested more than $3.5 billion to enhance security.
Pillar #2 – Cyber Security
Chemical manufacturing requires electronic, software-based systems that monitor and control the functions and processes of plants. Establishing and implementing minimum cyber security standards in order to protect chemical plants from system failures, intrusions, or terrorist attacks is crucial to maintaining the viability of our overall critical infrastructure.
The Responsible Carer Security Code requires ACC members to recognize that protecting information and information systems is a critical component of a sound security management system. More specifically, the Security Code mandates that members conduct a periodic cyber security vulnerability assessment and implement enhancements commensurate with risks.
To further enhance cyber security and create an industry-wide approach to both information technology (IT) and manufacturing systems security, ACC organized the Chemical Information Technology Council (ChemITC). ChemITC published guidelines to help protect communities, facilitate safe operations, prevent unauthorized access to proprietary information and enable business continuity throughout the global industry. The strategy focuses on information sharing; guidance enhancement and relevance; sector-wide adoption; enhanced security in technology solutions; and government relations.
Pillar #3 – Transportation Security
The crux of the transportation security challenge lies in the obvious fact that once ACC members ship product via a common carrier’s truck, train or barge, we no longer control that product. After we’ve ensured the product is in the right container and has been safely packed and stored, we rely on the carrier to ensure the product’s security and safety. That’s why we believe the surest way to achieve transportation security is to further enhance our partnerships with both the carriers and the federal government.
The Responsible Carer Security
Code applies to security activities throughout the chemical industry value chain and encompasses company activities associated with the design, procurement, distribution, transportation, recycling, and disposal of our products. Specifically, the Security Code requires a periodic security vulnerability assessment of value chain security and implementation of security measures that are commensurate with risk, including additional screening of transportation providers and strengthening partnerships with such providers to better navigate the intricate world of transportation security.
An effective partnership can have many benefits. For example, some of ACC’s members are working with individual railroads to develop a “next generation” tank car that enhances both safety and security. Many ACC members also participate in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), a voluntary program administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Security Is an Ongoing Commitment
In April of 2007, ACC will introduce the industry’s newest event – ChemSecure, focusing on the changed landscape of chemical security, now that DHS will be regulating the sector. The conference will be held in Arlington, Va., and is designed to give the industry in-depth information on DHS chemical security rules, which will be issued in early April.
ACC members will continue to invest in security and look forward to working closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as it promotes the security of the entire chemical sector by implementing new security regulations required by legislation recently signed into law. We will maintain our security leadership and commitment because we, and the nation, will not tolerate anything less.
Jack Gerard is President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council, the trade association representing U.S. chemical companies and including significant business groups such as the American Plastics Council and the Chlorine Chemistry Council. Visit: www.americanchemistry.com