The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) published the TWIC – Reader Requirements; Delay of Effective Date (TWIC Reader Delay Notice) in the Federal Register on March 9, 2020. With its publication, the USCG delayed the effective date of the TWIC Reader Rule for three (3) years (i.e., until May 8, 2023) for the following “covered facilities:”
On December 22, 2022, President Biden signed the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023. The law includes section 11804(c), which further delays implementation of TWIC Reader Rule for the “covered facilities” for an additional three years (until at least May 8, 2026).
The additional delay follows the November 2022 publication of the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center’s (HSOAC’s) TWIC Reader Rule Report. The Report found, among other things, that “…the reader rule is potentially cost-effective even in its current form, [but] reasons exist to consider a more-targeted approach that excludes low-quantity or lowpopulation density facilities, or both.” Based on this and other findings, the USCG has indicated that the delay will give it time to review the affected population of “covered facilities.” The review will include consideration of CDC types, population density within a certain distance of a facility, and other risk and consequence considerations.
For most facilities, the best course of action continues to be limiting the economic and operational impact of the TWIC Reader Rule by reducing the locations at the facility where biometric verification is required, where possible. This approach, as repeatedly suggested by the USCG itself, has been successfully undertaken by many facilities since 2016 and will likely be more appealing now given that the USCG will enforce the regulation broadly across the chemical, petrochemical, terminal, and refining industries.