Homeland Security Chemical Guidelines May Affect Md. Agriculture Operations - Southern Maryland Headline News

Homeland Security Chemical Guidelines May Affect Md. Agriculture Operations

MDA Urges Farmers, Agribusinesses to Assess Stored Chemicals, Ensure Compliance

ANNAPOLIS (Jan. 4, 2008) - The Maryland Department of Agriculture is urging farmers and agribusinesses to review new chemical guidelines from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulation to determine if they need to comply. Those who fall within the new regulations will need to file a "Top Screen" assessment form with DHS before January 21, 2008.

In an effort to increase the security of high-risk chemical facilities, the Department of Homeland Security recently released a list of chemicals that, if possessed by a facility in a specified quantity, would require them to complete a Chemical Security Anti-Terrorism Top-Screen assessment. Those required to go through this initial screening must do so before Jan. 21, 2008. Failure to comply with the regulations could result in civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day or the shut down of the facility.

"Maryland farmers and agribusinesses storing fertilizers, pesticides- including fumigants- and other chemicals may be affected by these new regulations. I urge them to check the list of chemicals included in the final Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards rule, assess their stored chemicals and make sure they are in compliance with the federal regulations," said Agriculture Secretary Roger Richardson in a statement. "While we don't expect many producers or agricultural businesses in Maryland to come under these new requirements, we want to alert them to the rules so they can take any actions necessary."

The DHS final rule on Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, including the final list of chemicals covered, was published in the Federal Register on Nov. 20, 2007. The final list of chemicals, referred to as Appendix A, includes approximately 300 chemicals of interest including common industrial chemicals such as chlorine, propane and anhydrous ammonia.

For more information on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, including a complete list of the chemicals of interest and the Chemical Storage Assessment Tool to file the Top Screen assessment, visit http://www.dhs.gov/chemicalsecurity/.

Source: Maryland Department of Agriculture

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