(TULSA) - A new congressional report shows that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has failed to secure dangerous chemical facilities from terrorists.
Since 2006, Congress has poured nearly $600 million into the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program.
DHS put new security standards in place for chemical manufacturing plants and storage tanks.
But the country is little safer, concludes the report from U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK).
Sen. Coburn said, “Today – eight years later – there is little, if any, evidence to show that the more than half a billion dollars DHS has spent created an effective chemical security regulatory program or measurably reduced the risk of an attack on our chemical industrial infrastructure.”
The information in the report comes from DHS documents, interviews and audits by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the DHS Inspector General.
Here’s a summary from the report:
- DHS officials discovered in 2010 they had erroneously included 100 sites that should never have been part of the program, due to a “computational error.”
- In another risk-calculation flub, DHS officials in 2012 realized they forgot to factor in the risk to populations who lived near chemical facilities that weren’t in the continental United States, such as plants in Alaska and Hawaii.
- An internal DHS review last year found “fundamental problems, errors, inconsistencies, and unsupported assumptions in the methodology underlying the whole CFATS program.”
Dr. Coburn concludes:
- DHS’ CFATS program is not reducing our nation’s risk of a terrorist attack on chemical facilities.
- DHS does not know whether some dangerous chemical facilities even exist.
- CFATS regulates the wrong facilities.
- DHS is not transparent about how the CFATS program works and creates an adversarial relationship with the companies it regulates.
“Without major changes in the program, the CFATS program will never work as intended,” said Dr. Coburn.