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

Featured Stories

FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires California-Based Retailer
August 29, 2014
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings will acquire Kerman Ag Resources, Inc., which will operate under Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More

Trending Articles

CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More
ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science Review
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More
EquipmentAdvance Your Technology IQ At MAGIE
August 13, 2014
The Midwest AG Industries Exposition (August 20-21) is the place you need to be to see, study and evaluate how new advances in the equipment, operations, crop protection and fertility sectors can help your business prosper. Read More

Latest News

CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires Kansas-Based Cedar Ridge Supply
September 16, 2014
Cedar Ridge Supply will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
StewardshipSecretary Vilsack Highlights Innovative Conservation Ef…
September 15, 2014
Nearly $16 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) will be awarded to 47 organizations to help develop cutting-edge ideas to accelerate innovation in private lands conservation. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Cargill Lawsuit
September 15, 2014
Syngenta believes that the lawsuit is without merit and strongly upholds the right of growers to have access to approved new technologies. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Launches Mobile App
September 15, 2014
Smartphone and tablet users planning on attending the 2014 Farm Science Review can now download this year’s customized mobile application. Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Grower Sets Georgia Soybean Yield …
September 15, 2014
Georgia farmer Randy Dowdy's soybeans yielded an astonishing 110.66 bushels per acre, crushing the previous record of 82 bushels-per-acre. Read More
NIMITZ Treated vs Untreated pepper plant
InsecticidesNIMITZ Nematicide Approved By EPA
September 12, 2014
NIMITZ is a novel, non-fumigant nematicide with simplified application features, user safety and an active ingredient with a unique mode of action. Read More
InsecticidesMarrone Bio Innovations Receives Patent For Chromobacte…
September 11, 2014
The patent is the first step for MBI in developing a commercially viable product to inhibit infestations of corn rootworm larvae across America and other regions. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences: Keeping The Pipeline Stocked
September 11, 2014
Dow AgroSciences is embracing product diversity to drive the company’s future. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Is Official Partner Of New St. Paul Ballpark
September 10, 2014
The new ballpark in St. Paul, MN, officially became CHS Field with Twin Cities-based CHS Inc. revealed as the naming rights partner. Read More
EquipmentHagie Honors Farming Stewardship Leaders
September 10, 2014
The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award recognizes Iowa farmers as environmental leaders that are committed to healthy soils and improved water quality. Read More
Precision AgPlantBeat: Your Plants’ Pulse In The Palm Of Your Han…
September 10, 2014
A new agronomic monitoring and recommendation service from Phytech could rewrite the book on real-time plant health status monitoring. Read More
StewardshipCCAs Making Headway With 4R Program In Lake Erie Wester…
September 9, 2014
Certified Crop Advisers are implementing the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification program in Lake Erie's Western Basin to improve water quality. Read More
MicronutrientsMicronutrients Going Macro
September 9, 2014
Between 2014’s fantastic growing conditions and a heightened awareness on plant nutrition, the major players in micronutrients are gearing up for another big year. Read More
Crop InputsFMC Announces Cheminova Takeover
September 8, 2014
FMC Corporation today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cheminova, a wholly owned subsidiary of Auriga Industries. Read More
HerbicidesValent’s Fierce XLT Herbicide Receives EPA Approv…
September 8, 2014
Valent U.S.A. Corp. announced today that Fierce XLT Soybean Herbicide is now federally registered for preemergence weed control in soybeans Read More
Eric SfiligojIndustry Consolidation Set To Increase Going Forward
September 8, 2014
As the agricultural marketplace moves into fall, one observer predicts the pace of consolidation will grow at all levels. Read More
LegislationCropLife America Leaders Address Regulatory Landscape, …
September 8, 2014
As CropLife America enters its 81st year, the organization’s leaders have seen another period of rapid and visible policy and public issue activity. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More