Industry Challenges Personnel Surety Program

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a “Personnel Surety Program (PSP)” Information Collection Request as part of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) regulations. The comment period ended on Thursday, May 13. The Agribusiness Security Working Group (ASWG), comprised of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and CropLife America (CLA), submitted joint comments to DHS raising concerns with the severe unintended consequences and significant burden created by the program without providing additional security benefits or practical utility.

The ASWG has encouraged the industry to provide comments to DHS if their facility is impacted by the CFATS program and the agency’s PSP. The PSP will require all CFATS facilities to submit information about facility personnel and, as appropriate, “unescorted visitors” with access to restricted areas or critical assets at those facilities. As defined by DHS regulations this would likely cause all employees at agricultural retail facilities regulated by CFATS to have their names submitted to DHS for vetting by the Federal Government against the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). The TSDB is a consolidated and integrated terrorist watchlist maintained by the Federal Government to identify known or suspected terrorists (i.e. individuals with terrorist ties).

The ASWG has identified the following areas as issues that need to be addressed by DHS:

  • Conflicts with Congressional Intent: When Congress authorized DHS to establish the CFATS program, it explicitly directed the agency to “establish Risk-Based Performance Standards (RBPS) for securing chemical facilities.” Performance standards, rather than prescriptive standards issued by the Federal Government, provide facilities the flexibility to address their own unique security challenges. DHS should not issue prescriptive requirements for how a facility is to achieve personnel surety RBPS #12.
  • Redundant Reporting and Unnecessary Burden: Most if not all Agribusinesses (manufacturers, distributors, retailers) have a significant number of employees (i.e. facility personnel) or contractors that hold a valid Commercial Drivers License Hazmat Endorsement (CDL HME), Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC), or other federally issued credentials to satisfy a CFATS facility’s compliance with the personnel surety requirements as described in RBPS # 12. In the CFATS Interim Final Rule issued in April 2007, it states that “to minimize redundant background checks of workers, DHS agrees that a person who has successfully undergone a security threat assessment conducted by DHS and is in possession of a valid DHS credential such as a TWIC, HME, NEXUS, or FAST, will not need to undergo additional vetting by DHS. We agree with this statement and believe it is an unnecessary use of time and resources for a facility to have to collect and resubmit employee or contractor information for those who already hold valid DHS credentials.
  • Restricted Areas/Critical Assets and Determination of “Unescorted Visitor”: At agricultural retail facilities, agricultural chemicals listed as a chemical of interest (COI), such as anhydrous ammonia, ammonium nitrate and aluminum phosphide are stored and handled on site. All employees at these facilities will be in a restricted area or near a critical asset as part of the regular work day during the busy spring planting or fall harvesting seasons. This will require all facility personnel to hold a valid DHS credential or be vetted by DHS against the TSDB. During these busy times of the year, farmer customers will enter the facility for pick up of farm supplies, which could include a COI. From the DHS PSP proposal it is not clear what is considered to be an “unescorted visitor” and subject to the DHS background check requirement. All “escorted visitors” are not required to have their names submitted to DHS for vetting in the TSDB. We recommend DHS define a farmer customer or transport carrier that is in “line of site” of authorized facility personnel within the restricted area or near a critical asset to be considered as “escorted” and thus not subject to the DHS PSP requirements.

Leave a Reply

Latest News
Kennebec Grain terminal
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Kennebec Facility Loads First Rail Cars
October 21, 2016
In a season of firsts for Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Grain Terminal, the first 115-car unit train was loaded with soybeans Read More
ManagementThe Latest Dow-DuPont Rumor, Product of the Year Voting…
October 20, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares a new rumor about the Dow-DuPont merger and updates on two CropLife-driven programs, the CropLife Read More
Soybean Closeup
FungicidesFMC Begins Registration Process For New Fungicide Activ…
October 19, 2016
FMC Agricultural Solutions has begun the joint U.S. EPA and Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency registration process for bixafen, a new Read More
Soil Young Corn
Industry NewsAgribusiness Search Firm Appoints New Managing Partner
October 18, 2016
Morris Bixby Group, a leading agribusiness search firm providing the highest quality professional recruiting and career advancement services since 2000, Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
FertilizerUnited Suppliers Acquires Kansas Fertilizer Business
October 17, 2016
United Suppliers, Inc. has purchased the assets of Evans Enterprises, LLC, an ammonium chloride fertilizer business based in Olathe, KS. Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsFMC Launches New Operations In Argentina, Exits Joint V…
October 17, 2016
FMC Corp. has exited its joint venture with Ruralco Soluciones S.A. FMC has launched new commercial operations, FMC Quimica S.A., Read More
Dow AgroSciences
InsecticidesRenewed Registration Issued For Products Containing Sul…
October 17, 2016
On October 14, 2016, the U.S. EPA re-established the registration of products containing sulfoxaflor (Isoclast Active), including Transform WG, Closer Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Whys Of Agriculture
October 17, 2016
During 2016, there have been myriad challenges facing the whole agricultural industry. Such wide ranging issues as water protection, sustainable Read More
Young Corn Field
FertilizerImproved Phosphorus Management Essential To Feeding Wor…
October 14, 2016
With a global population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, improved management of key essential nutrients such as Read More
ManagementHarvest and Crop Price Updates; EPA and Crop Protection…
October 13, 2016
Glyphosate and atrazine get public comment support from ARA as each is reviewed by EPA, and the latest on the Read More
Matt Hopkins15 Twitter Accounts Every Ag Professional Must Follow
October 13, 2016
What do singer Katy Perry and the President of the United States have in common? They are two of the Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Adds Two Key Account Managers
October 13, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of two key account managers: Doug Hoberty and Rob Wier. Hoberty and Read More
EquipmentDeere Announces Development Deal with Scherer Design
October 12, 2016
Deere & Co. announces a joint development agreement with Scherer Design Engineering, Inc. to develop and commercialize kernel processing solutions Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Celebrates 10 Years Of Innovati…
October 12, 2016
Richard Rominger, former Deputy Secretary of the USDA and former agricultural secretary of California, emceed a 10th anniversary luncheon celebration on Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Industry NewsVive Crop Protection Closes Financing To Support Corpor…
October 11, 2016
Vive Crop Protection has announced the closing of growth financing to support 2017 commercial expansion. The financing was led by Read More
SoftwareHD Precision Analytics Launches New Mobile App For Agri…
October 11, 2016
AGSentry from HD Precision Analytics is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that offers simple data service and actionable analytics tool. It focuses Read More
HerbicidesWeed Control And Soil Health Go Hand-in-Hand
October 10, 2016
Although many landowners may not give much thought to weed control as a soil health measure, Gared Shaffer, South Dakota Read More
Students Soybean Field
Eric Sfiligoj2016 Young Leaders Speak
October 10, 2016
One of the consistent cries in agriculture today is the need to try and connect with the younger generations, attempting Read More