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Public Policy and Administration


Paul Rutledge


The federal government created the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program in 2007 to keep terrorists from weaponizing hazardous chemicals. The CFATS program did this by targeting high-risk chemical facilities and adding additional regulations, but this has added an additional burden on the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) that could negatively impact their capacity to prepare and collaborate to prevent chemical disasters. The present study was conducted to evaluate the CFATS program from the perspective of LEPCs to fill an existing gap in the literature. The study was conducted using the theoretical frameworks of contingency theory of organizations by Donaldson, and organizational culture theory by Shafritz et al., and employed Bamberger and Mabry’s qualitative evaluative approach methodology for its analysis. The research questions asked what programmatic and organizational changes could be made to the CFATS program to better protect regulated chemicals and high-risk chemical facilities. The research sample consisted of 11 LEPCs that identified what changes could improve the CFATS program in the State of Washington and what organizational changes would also improve the program. Findings included greater LEPC participation, more chemical security inspectors, grant funding, and incident management support. This study evaluated the data in the context of time, budget, data, and political constraints to provide prioritized options the CFATS program could incorporate to further protect high-risk chemical facilities and increase community preparedness for chemical disasters leading to positive social change.

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