Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Advisory Opinions

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issues advisory opinions to help clarify CFATS rules, whenever appropriate, and in the interest of effective administration of the CFATS program. The advisory opinions are often in response to requests from chemical facilities and industry groups. Additional CFATS Guidance documents can be found on the CISA Guidance webpage.

Advisory Opinion 2016-001: RBPS-12 Background Check Requirements for Legacy Employees

Read Advisory Opinion 2016-001 (PDF, 1.02 MB)

Summary: Under CFATS, covered chemical facilities must ensure that background checks are conducted on certain individuals with or seeking access to restricted areas or critical assets. See 6 CFR § 27.230(a)(12). The attached letter addresses the requirement to conduct these background checks on legacy/long-time employees in addition to conducting them on newer employees. The Agency's longstanding position and interpretation of 6 CFR § 27.230(a)(12) is that background checks are required to be conducted for all facility personnel with access to restricted areas or critical assets at high-risk chemical facilities, regardless of their length of service, as described in more detail in the attachment.

Advisory Opinion 2016-002: "A Commercial Grade" Interpretation

Read Advisory Opinion 2016-002 (PDF, 509 KB)

Summary: Any facility that holds a chemical of interest (COI) listed in Appendix A at or above the specified screening threshold quantity (STQ) and concentration must report these COI to the Agency via a Top-Screen survey. A number of COIs listed on Appendix A do not have associated specific, numerical minimum concentrations. In lieu of numerical concentrations, the COIs are listed with the qualifier “ACG,” which stands for "A Commercial Grade." CISA has received multiple inquiries from the stakeholder community requesting clarification of the term “A Commercial Grade.” This advisory opinion contains the Agency's interpretation of the term “A Commercial Grade” as used in CFATS.

Advisory Opinion 2016-003: "Transportation Packaging" Interpretation

Read Advisory Opinion 2016-003 (PDF, 521 KB)

Summary: 6 CFR § 27.203(c) requires facilities to include only theft/diversion (T/D) chemicals of interest (COI) that are in transportation packaging, as defined in 49 CFR § 171.8, when determining whether their holdings and COI are at or above the screening threshold quantity (STQ). The Agency has received multiple inquiries from the stakeholder community requesting clarification of the term “transportation packaging.” This advisory opinion contains the Agency's interpretation of the term as it is used in the CFATS regulations and is not intended to impact the meaning or applicability of any other regulation, including the Hazardous Materials Regulations.

Advisory Opinion 2019-001: Top-Screen Reporting of Theft/Diversion EXP/IEDP Mixtures

Read Advisory Opinion 2019-001 (PDF, 744 KB)

Summary: CISA has received multiple inquiries requesting clarification on the appropriate reporting of theft/diversion mixtures under the CFATS regulation. This advisory opinion explains CISA's interpretation of 6 CFR § 27.204 and Appendix A to the CFATS regulation as requiring facilities possessing threshold quantities of theft/diversion mixtures to report those quantities to CISA.

Advisory Opinion 2020-001: Hatcheries Not Eligible for Agricultural Extension Letter

Read Advisory Opinion 2020-001 (PDF, 1.15 MB)

Summary: In July 2015, DHS clarified to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife that fisheries and hatcheries do not qualify for the agricultural facilities time extension issued by DHS in 73 FR 1640 (Jan 8, 2008). CISA published a redacted version of this letter to ensure that other fisheries and hatcheries properly report any threshold quantities of chemicals of interest (COI) that they possess.

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