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
HerbicidesBREAKING: EPA Pulls Registration On Dow’s Enlist …
November 25, 2015
EPA said on Wednesday it had revoked the registration of Dow Chemical Co.’s new herbicide Enlist Duo due to its Read More
FertilizerYara Tampa Ammonia Terminal Garners ResponsibleAg Honor…
November 25, 2015
Yara has received its first ResponsibleAg Certification for its Tampa, FL, Ammonia terminal location. This achievement demonstrates Yara’s commitment to Read More
ManagementReviewing The Top Ag Stories For 2015
November 24, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf discuss the most noteworthy events from this past year in agriculture. Read More
EmployeesAgriculture Jobs May Be Plentiful, But New Grads Are Sc…
November 24, 2015
Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture each year for the next five years, but there's not enough grads to fill them. Read More
Radish cover crop
StewardshipCover Crops Guide Helps Growers Improve Water Quality
November 23, 2015
A publication that teaches growers the advantages of using cover crops to improve soil health and crop yields has won Read More
Crop InputsThe Andersons’ Products Receive California Organi…
November 23, 2015
The Plant Nutrient Group of The Andersons, Inc. announced today that its Humic DG and Black Gypsum DG products are Read More
Eric SfiligojNew European Study Seems To Support Glyphosate Safety
November 23, 2015
Looking at any international news over the past few years, it might seem as if the European Union (EU) is Read More
Toggle Biostimulant corn roots
Crop InputsTwo New Biostimulants Added To United Suppliers’ …
November 20, 2015
Winfield US announces the launch of two new products in the United Suppliers portfolio for the 2016 crop season, Optify Read More
StewardshipNRDC Report: Cover Crops Contain Vast Benefits
November 19, 2015
As harvest season ends and farmers in the United States ready themselves for winter, one small change could make a Read More
Fall Harvest
Seed/BiotechArysta Launches New Seed Protectant
November 19, 2015
As spring wheat growers begin planning for a strong start to their season, Arysta LifeScience North America announces RANCONA V Read More
Crop InputsInocucor Receives U.S. Patent For Microbials
November 19, 2015
Inocucor Technologies Inc., the Montreal-based agriculture biotech company, was issued patent No. 9,175,258 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect Read More
ManagementSyngenta Rumors and ARA 2015 Preview
November 19, 2015
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj looks at the latest rumors involving Syngenta selling its crop protection business and talks about events Read More
EquipmentAGCO Announces Finalists For Operator Of The Year Honor
November 19, 2015
AGCO Corp. has announced the four top operators chosen as finalists for AGCO’s 10th Annual Operator of the Year program, Read More
High Plains Aquifer
StewardshipStudy: High Plains Aquifer Overall Usage In Decline
November 18, 2015
A new Kansas State University study finds that the over-tapping of the High Plains Aquifer’s groundwater beyond the aquifer’s recharge Read More
Golden Harvest Corn healthy leaves
FungicidesArysta Launches New Corn And Soybean Fungicide
November 17, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America has recently launched ZOLERA FX Fungicide. The highly systemic, powerful fungicide delivers broad-spectrum disease control with Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsBioAg Alliance: Microbials Targeted For 250-500 million…
November 17, 2015
Monsanto and Novozymes have announced a new 2025 acreage target that will guide the companies’ microbials business for the next Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Still Being Eyed For China Takeover
November 16, 2015
China National Chemical Corp. approached sovereign wealth funds including China Investment Corp. to help pay for a potential acquisition of Read More
Cedar Country Cooperative
Eric SfiligojCooperative Consolidation Continues
November 16, 2015
As I put this enewsletter column together, we’ve just put the finishing touches on our magazine’s annual CropLife 100 report. Read More