EPA delays effective date of Risk Management Program amendments

Washington – The Environmental Protection Agency has delayed until June 19 the effective date for amendments to the EPA Risk Management Program rule for chemical facilities.

The delay, a response to a March 13 administrative stay, will give EPA time to reconsider a February petition from the RMP Coalition regarding the amendments.

“As an agency, we need to be responsive to concerns raised by stakeholders regarding regulations so facility owners and operators know what is expected of them,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a March 13 press release.

The amendments are intended to:

  • Prevent catastrophic incidents by improving incident prevention program requirements.
  • Enhance emergency preparedness to ensure coordination between facilities and local communities.
  • Improve information access to help the public understand the risks at RMP facilities.
  • Improve third-party audits at RMP facilities.

The amendments were prompted by an Executive Order directing government agencies to improve chemical facility safety in the wake of a 2013 fertilizer facility explosion in West, TX, that killed 15 people.

The amendments have met opposition under House Joint Resolution 59, introduced Feb. 1 by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK). The resolution aims to block the amendments under the Congressional Review Act while preventing additional chemical safety improvements not directed by Congress, according to a press release.

However, 26 organizations led by the Environmental Justice Health Alliance on Feb. 10 sent a letter to four Congressional officials, asking that EPA efforts be maintained.

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