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December 5, 2005
Volume 83, Number 49
p. 13

Industrial Security

New Jersey Mandates Chemical Plant Security

Lois Ember

On Nov. 29, Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey announced an order making New Jersey the first state in the nation to have mandatory standards for chemical plant security. There are no equivalent national standards.

The state's 140 chemical facilities now are explicitly required to implement existing best security practices guidelines. These were largely crafted by the chemical industry and roughly based on the American Chemistry Council's Responsible Care security code. They were approved in 2003 by New Jersey's Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force to protect communities against catastrophic chemical releases caused by terrorist attacks.

The standards continue the site-specific security assessments of the best practices. Although the 72 member companies of the Chemistry Council of New Jersey (CCNJ) have implemented this requirement, all 140 chemical facilities now must evaluate potential vulnerabilities and likely consequences of a chemical release.

All 140 facilities also must prepare an incident prevention and response plan and track the implementation of other best security practices. New to the standards is a requirement that workers take part in the development of the security assessments and the prevention and response plans.

As part of the new requirements, 43 of the 140 facilities are subject to the state's Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act and therefore must assess the potential for adopting inherently safer technology, including the substitution of less hazardous materials. Industry has opposed this provision, and a CCNJ statement says, “The prescriptive order [adds] requirements that have little to do with security.”

Facilities have 120 days to develop vulnerability assessments.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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