Last week more than 350 attendees participated in the 2007 Chemical Sector Security Summit held June 11-13 at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church, Va. The summit, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council, provided all segments of the chemical industry with an opportunity to interact directly with senior DHS officials regarding the new Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards interim final regulations. Featured speakers included DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection Robert Stephan, and Acting Director Larry Stanton and Deputy Director Dennis Deziel of the DHS Chemical Security Compliance Division, and Dr. Kirk Yeagher, an FBI explosives expert. Secretary Chertoff indicated DHS wanted to work as partners with industry on these regulations. He also said that owners/operators should get the message to invest in security and the DHS will work to ensure that no one gets a competitive advantage.

The summit included workshop sessions on topics such as Security Awareness Training, the basics of Security Vulnerability Assessments (SVA), Site Security Plans, Risk-Based Performance Standards, Inspections and Audits under the new regulations. A demonstration of the Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT) Top-Screen program allowed agriculture retailers and distributors attending the conference to gain a better understanding of what type of information facilities are expected to provide DHS during the screening process. During a question and answer session, Stanton suggested the ag-chem industry might want to wait to register and submit information through DHS's Web-based Top-Screen program until Appendix A: Chemicals of Interest is finalized in July 2007. ARA members are recommended to go to to review the Top-Screen questions and user manual.