Action Plan: Improving Data Management
The Working Group examined the data collection process for each of the Federal regulatory programs related to chemical facility safety and security. Due to the variation in mission and scope of legislation and regulations, there are both commonalities and significant differences in the data collected by each regulatory program. To make coordination and communication between Federal agencies more effective, despite the disparities in data collection, agencies must establish a common terminology and provide common identifiers for each facility. Taking this step will also assist with compliance and easing reporting for industry by standardizing the terminology facilities must understand. Using a common facility identifier will assist in tracking facility compliance in the short and long terms by allowing a means for comparison of regulated facilities across regimes using the identifier as a common starting point.
Short Term (within 1 year of this report) Plan:
- Establish a dedicated cross-agency team of experts to begin work on developing a common facility identifier and data terminology within 30 days of this report.
Aggregating Data from Across the Federal Agencies and Establishing a Single Web-Based Interface for Data Collection
The long-term solution for data collection and sharing is a centralized single data entry portal. The Working Group will work with and leverage other Federal data coordination efforts (such as those developed via Presidential Policy Directive – 21 Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience) and the broader Data.Gov initiative to develop such a portal and data standards. This portal will serve as an integrated resource through which facilities will be able to learn about the regulatory programs of the various agencies. Additionally, this portal will include a common submission process, assisting facilities with reporting obligations on their facilities and chemical holdings. This portal will integrate the aforementioned standardized terminology as well as use the solutions to the challenges encountered during the linking of regulatory databases described later in this section. An in-depth requirements gathering process will be conducted to ensure that this new centralized system meets the needs of regulators and the regulated community.
Short Term (within 1 year of this report) Plan:
- Complete the exchange of relevant data among all Working Group members, in accordance with existing agency and/or program policies and requirements within 90 days of this report.
Medium Term (prior to the end of FY2016) Plan:
- Use the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Facility Registry Service (FRS) as a central repository to link data from multiple agencies to assist with identifying noncompliant facilities and/or other potential compliance issues.
- Build the capability for each Agency’s database to automatically share information with the FRS as new facility registration information is entered. This will allow each separate Agency’s database to provide updates and receive new facility records in real time. The continual exchange of data among programs will provide a consolidated and comprehensive facility profile.
- Use FRS or other appropriate systems to increase information sharing from Federal regulatory programs with the public while maintaining the appropriate balance between safety and security
Improving Information Tools for Regulated Chemicals
Raising stakeholder awareness of existing Federal regulatory requirements is one of the keys to addressing the issue of chemical facilities that may not have provided all required information or may otherwise be noncompliant. SRS is a central system for information about substances that EPA and other agencies track or regulate and it available to the public. Each record identifies standardized nomenclature for the substance and any synonyms used by EPA and other interagency partners. Users can search by single substance, programmatic or statutory lists of substances, or groups of substances. SRS provides links to other sources of information managed by EPA and other Federal and international agencies, thus serving as a centralized tool to find important information about specific chemicals. The SRS maps the substances within EPA programs, and since the issuance of the EO, EPA has added DHS’s CFATS and OSHA’s PSM-covered chemicals list. For a given substance, SRS indicates whether it is tracked or regulated and by which program. Making SRS a centralized resource for industry to assess which programs it may be subject to increases its overall value to the government and industry. SRS will be a resource, linking industry to program Websites across the Federal Government.
Short Term (within 1 year of this report)
- Expand Substance Registry Services (SRS) to include Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) List of Explosive Materials based on the needs of industry members, State and Federal regulators, and other stakeholders.
- Link agency systems to the records in the SRS to increase chemical regulatory awareness.
- Facility Registry Service (FRS). EPA system that provides data about facilities, sites, or places of environmental interest to support EPA's mission of protecting human health and the environment.
- Substance Registry System (SRS). EPA system that provides information about substances that are tracked or regulated by EPA or other sources. It is the authoritative resource for basic information about chemicals, biological organisms, and other substances of interest to EPA and its state and tribal partners.