WASHINGTON, July 7 (UPI) -- U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday federal-private collaboration is needed to secure the nation's chemical plants.
Speaking at the 2010 Chemical Sector Security Summit in Washington, Napolitano outlined her department's ongoing efforts to beef up security at high-risk chemical facilities under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program.
"Securing our nation's chemical sector requires extensive collaboration with our private sector partners," Napolitano said. "Flexible, practical and collaborative programs such as DHS's National Infrastructure Protection Plan, the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council and CFATS play a key role in enhancing the security and resiliency of our nation's chemical facilities and other critical infrastructure."
Napolitano said common-sense performance standards help protect chemical facilities against threats without compromising their operational characteristics or efficiency.
She also cited the need for a coordinated effort among multiple agencies and missions within the department. She noted the Coast Guard has significant regulatory authority over chemical facilities along ports and waterways as part of the Maritime Transportation Security Act, and the Transportation Security Administration works with industry partners to protect hazardous chemicals transported by rail and pipelines
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection checks cargo at land and sea ports of entry to prevent chemical and radiological threats from entering the country.
The National Protection and Programs Directorate's Office of Infrastructure Protection works directly with the chemical sector to ensure security compliance.