By James L. Curtis, Meagan Newman, and Anne D. Harris

In an effort to improve safety at chemical plants, President Obama recently signed an executive order requiring the federal government to conduct a review of safety and security procedures at U.S. plants. 78 FR 48029 (August 7, 2013).

The order calls for private sector input in developing new guidelines for handling, storing and utilizing dangerous chemicals. The order also establishes a task force composed of representatives from multiple federal agencies who will coordinate operations among federal, state, and local agencies, update policies relating to chemical safety and security, and devise new regulations for chemical facilities.

The President’s order includes several short deadlines for the task force to review information, develop strategies and implement a pilot program to determine best practices.