Propane on DHS chemical list for 2008

December 1, 2007 By    

Propane is one of 325 substances included in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s final list of chemicals that will be subject to heightened anti-terrorist security measures beginning in 2008.

Industry officials have been pressing DHS to exempt propane since the initial list was released last April. At the time, DHS wanted to include all facilities that stored more than 7,500 pounds (1,785 gallons) of propane.

The National Propane Gas Association claims that all propane retailers and hundreds of thousands of farms, small businesses and homeowners would fall under that threshold, be forced to pay $2,300 to $3,500 and complete an online survey to assess their risk in greater detail.

The agency on Nov. 20 amended that threshold level to 60,000 pounds (14,285 gallons) and specified that vessels holding less than 10,000 pounds (2,358 gallons) do not have to be counted toward the 60,000-pound cutoff. DHS says the change is intended to focus on industrial and major consumers, regional suppliers, bulk retail and storage sites.

The change means the vast majority of propane customers will no longer be covered. All 30,000-gallon tanks commonly used at propane bulk plants still qualify, requiring plant owners to complete the DHS “Top Screen” survey by Jan. 22, 2008. The agency will evaluate the information and determine whether that facility should be categorized as “high risk” and subject to further regulatory compliance.

NPGA officials are asking its members to pressure legislators to intervene in opposition to the compliance guidelines while producing step-by-step instructions to help propane marketers complete the DHS online survey. They also say the issue is likely to be challenged in court.

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