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Enforcement

National Compliance Initiative: Reducing Risks of Accidental Releases at Industrial and Chemical Facilities

Anhydrous ammonia tank fire at a food processing plant.Anhydrous ammonia tank fire at a food processing plant.

Problem

Thousands of facilities nationwide, many of which are in low income or minority communities, make, use and store extremely hazardous substances. Catastrophic accidents at these facilities—historically about 150 each year—result in fatalities and serious injuries, evacuations, and harm to human health and the environment.  EPA regulates these facilities under section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act and through the Chemical Accident Prevention regulations, also known as the Risk Management Program (RMP). The regulations apply to stationary sources that have a listed chemical in a process at or above an established threshold quantity. A broader statutory obligation under CAA section 112(r)(1), the General Duty Clause (GDC), applies to all stationary sources with regulated substances or other extremely hazardous substances, regardless of the quantity of chemical involved. EPA has found that many regulated facilities are not adequately managing the risks they pose or ensuring the safety of their facilities in a way that is sufficient to protect surrounding communities.

This NCI is still in its first cycle. It will continue to focus on the most serious situations of noncompliance, with a focus on the Strategic Plan objectives of addressing vulnerable populations and achieving a timely return to compliance. The EPA will enhance our use of compliance assistance and expedited settlement agreements to address the numerous smaller sources in urban areas.

Goal

The goal of this initiative is to reduce the risk to human health and the environment by preventing chemical accidents. A successful initiative would reduce communities’ risk by having regulated facilities and industry associations work to improve safety; increasing compliance with RMP and GDC requirements; and promoting coordination and communication with state and local responders and communities.

 

EPA's progress toward inspecting and addressing facilities

Map of inspections and addressing actions at facilities that use extremely hazardous substances.

More Information

Read about the Risk Management Plan Rule that requires facilities that use extremely hazardous substances to develop and revise a risk management plan.