Statement of the International Liquid Terminals Association for the Written Record
International Liquid Terminals Association
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Jeff Weese
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Statement of the International Liquid Terminals Association for the Written Record

Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation Hearing

“Securing Our Nation’s Chemical Facilities:
Stakeholder Perspectives on Improving the CFATS Program”

Submitted March 14, 2019  

The International Liquid Terminals Association (ILTA) is grateful for the opportunity submit written testimony for the record of the March 12, 2019 hearing, “Securing Our Nation’s Chemical Facilities: Stakeholder Perspectives on Improving the CFATS Program.”  ILTA is the only trade association focused exclusively on the tank and terminals industry, representing more nearly 90 companies with over 600 terminals across all 50 states. ILTA members provide storage and transportation logistics for a wide range of liquid commodities, including refined petroleum products, crude oil, chemicals, renewable fuels, fertilizer, vegetable oil and other food-grade materials. Liquid terminals are a vital component of our transportation infrastructure, connecting the U.S. economy and overseas markets in the trade of bulk liquid commodities. 

The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act establishes security requirements for facilities that store more than 300 Chemicals of Interest (COI). I LTA member companies provide storage and logistics for many bulk liquid products that are inputs for many industries. A subset of the bulk liquids stored by ILTA members are materials covered by CFATS. 

ILTA recognizes the crucial role that the CFATS program plays in maintaining our nation’s security and appreciates the diligence with which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Infrastructure Security Division administers this important program. As Congress works toward CFATS reauthorization, ILTA would like to offer two important recommendations for improving the program’s effectiveness.  

First, as a member of the CFATS industry coalition, ILTA endorses the coalition’s call for longer-term reauthorization.  ILTA recommends that Congress establish a seven-year reauthorization cycle for the program to provide affected companies with the regulatory certainty needed to plan for prudent investments in their security infrastructure.  Additional detail demonstrating the importance of this recommendation was discussed by  Kirsten Meskill,, director of corporate security, at BASF during the March 12 hearing and were included in her statement to the hearing’s record..

The remainder of this written testimony is devoted to explaining the importance of an additional ILTA recommendation pertaining to the treatment of gasoline, diesel and other fuel mixtures under the CTATS program.  ILTA strongly urges Congress to include language in CFATS authorization to ensure that gasoline, diesel, and other Class 1, 2 and 3 flammable mixtures are categorized appropriately based on their physical properties.   

DHS maintains a list of over 300 Chemicals of Interest (COI) that are regulated under CFATS. For flammable materials, inclusion in this list is based on a standard rating system for identification of hazardous materials developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  NFPA is widely acknowledged as the leading authority on fire and related hazards, and the codes and standards it develops are referred to by numerous authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) at the federal, state and local levels of government. Through research and consultation with its extensive network of fire protection professionals, NFPA has developed and promulgated over 275 consensus-based codes and standards.  NFPA standards are supported by research on their physical properties, as well as the practical experiences of thousands of fire-fighting professionals.  

NFPA classifies materials according to their flammability – from Class 0 (non-flammable) to Class 4 (extremely flammable).  NFPA classifies gasoline as Class 3, while it  classifies diesel, kerosene and jet fuel (fuel blends) as Class 2.  

Under CFATS, DHS developed a list of Chemicals of Interest because of the security concerns they may pose.  All flammable materials identified as Chemicals of Interest have NFPA ratings of Class 4 (extremely flammable) – with the notable and problematic exceptions of gasoline (Class 3) and diesel, kerosene and jet fuel (Class 2).  In other words, the treatment of gasoline, diesel and other fuel blends is inconsistent with the most authoritative standard in use today for the characterization of flammable materials. 

For nearly a decade, DHS has implicitly recognized that gasoline and other fuels do not pose the same risks as other, more flammable liquids.  For example, DHS does not require facilities that store only fuel mixtures to perform “top-screen” evaluations based solely on the presence of these mixtures.  Other security programs -- like the US Coast Guard’s Maritime Security Transportation Act (MTSA) regulations -- do not consider gasoline and other fuel mixtures high risk.  In addition, gasoline and other fuel mixtures are not included in EPA’s Risk Management Plan or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Process Safety Management regulations for environmental protection and worker safety.

ILTA appreciates that, in practice, DHS recognizes the lower risk associated with gasoline and other fuel blends relative to other materials listed as COIs.  At the same time, ILTA and its member companies have sought to correct the mistaken regulatory treatment of gasoline and fuel blends through regulatory channels for close to ten years.  As long as gasoline and fuel blends are treated differently under the regulations, there is unremitting concern that enlightened enforcement could change at any time, subjecting the industry to increased and unwarranted regulation.  

Only action by Congress can ensure that gasoline and fuel mixtures receive appropriate treatment in CFATS enforcement under all future Administrations.  This can be done by specifying in the statute that DHS may not designate a material as a Chemical of Interest based on its flammability unless the material has an NFPA rating of Class 4.  Such action will ensure that DHS is able to maximize the security of chemical facilities by remaining focused on materials with the greatest risk.

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