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What They Are Saying | EPA Finalizes Improved Risk Management Program Rule to Aid First Responders, Reduce Burdens

11/21/2019
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Risk Management Program (RMP) Reconsideration final rule, which modifies and improves the existing rule to remove burdensome, costly, unnecessary amendments while maintaining appropriate protections and ensuring first responders have access to all of the necessary safety information. This rule also resolves important security concerns. With this action, under President Trump, EPA has finalized 48 deregulatory actions, which the agency projects have saved Americans more than $5 billion in regulatory costs. 

Here's what elected officials and key stakeholders are saying:

FIRST RESPONDERS

NASTTPO Past-President and Board Member Tim Gablehouse: “The National Association of SARA Title III Program Officials (NASTTPO) represents members and staff of State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs), Tribal Emergency Response Commissions (TERCs), Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs), various federal agencies, and private industry. Our membership is pleased with the Trump Administration and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s finalized changes to the 2017 RMP rule, specifically with respect to its provisions impacting emergency planning and response. This includes final modifications to overly complex exercise requirements that placed resources burdens on LEPCs without recognizing these arbitrary requirements provided little or no benefit to community emergency preparedness or accident prevention. We also appreciate that the final rule maintains critical access for first responders to necessary facility information that will result in improved local emergency response planning and public safety.”

Calcasieu Parish Local Emergency Planning Committee Chairman Mason G. Lindsay: “(These changes) will help the Calcasieu Parish LEPC coordinate with our stationary facilities in our Parish. We discussed the new rules at our last LEPC meeting this past Tuesday, November 19. RMP compliance is one of our goals for next year. The change will help us to collect emergency contacts, conduct drills, review plans and incidents. We presently have an incident review process for facilities that is voluntary. The changes would encourage facilities to participate in our review process.” 

STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL & SECRETARIES

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson: “I applaud the President and the current leadership at the EPA for taking seriously the concerns raised by my office and others with the rule proposed by the previous administration.  The revisions to this regulation have taken into consideration careful analysis of years of data and have reduced what would have been unnecessary regulatory burdens on facilities and the risk of potentially harmful consequences to the public and emergency responders.”  

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry: “The Obama Administration not only subjected facilities to even more burdensome, duplicative, and needless regulation; but it also made all of us more vulnerable to security threats. Instead of making facilities safer and more secure, the Obama Administration seemed intent on making unnecessary and redundant regulation enacted only for regulation’s sake. Fortunately, President Trump has taken action to protect both public safety and jobs. President Trump’s revisions account for better coordination and communication which will ultimately prevent accidents, save lives, and protect property.”

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge: “It is encouraging to see the agency has agreed to reconsider a rule that would impose repetitive requirements on local and state officials as well as raise serious public safety concerns.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton: “I am grateful to the EPA for making the changes necessary to get the Risk Management Plan rule back in line with public safety and a proper balance of power between state and federal authorities. These revisions to the Obama-administrations’ last-minute rule will make Texans safer, ease the burden on state and local governments, and restore some common sense to the regulatory process. By listening to the state and local experts who have pointed out the national security and public safety risks of publishing sensitive information about refineries, chemical plants, manufacturing facilities, and agricultural operations, the Trump Administration has shown its dedication to putting the rule of law and the safety of Americans first.”

Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment Ken Wagner: “Today’s action in updating the RMP Rule is critical to protecting the public and striking a balance to require transparency while avoiding providing a roadmap for those who would occasion harm to the public. The State of Oklahoma commends Administrator Wheeler for listening to emergency responders and security experts to create the balance required to best protect the public while safeguarding emergency responders and national security.”

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman (AR-04): This final rule is a perfect example of the administration cleaning up inefficient, bureaucratic processes while still maintaining workplace security. I’m grateful for EPA’s dedication on this issue, and look forward to working with them further to improve safety measures. 

U.S. Representative Clay Higgins (LA-03): These changes maintain information sharing with local law enforcement while reducing unnecessary requirements and compliance costs from the previous Obama-era regulation. The revised rule also addresses security flaws that unintentionally left chemical facilities vulnerable to bad actors and potential terrorist threats. This is an important revision. I’m grateful that President Trump and his administration have taken action to correct the rule.”  

U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler (MO-04): “Today’s announcement ensures safety remains a top concern while simultaneously returning control to our local communities, reducing duplicative and over burdensome regulations, and maintaining national security protections for RMP facilities across Missouri. I am pleased to hear the Trump Administration has followed through on promises made to save taxpayer dollars while ensuring commonsense, streamlined measures drive our federal agencies.”

U.S. Representative Markwayne Mullin (OK-02): “The RMP rule traded safety for paperwork and delivered far more burden than benefit for businesses that had to abide by it. It wrapped our businesses up in more bureaucratic red tape and made it more difficult for them to keep their doors open, risking not only safety but also valuable jobs. Last Congress, I was proud to lead a joint resolution that provided much needed relief by rolling back the Obama Administration rule and I applaud the Trump Administration and Administrator Wheeler for finalizing the new, conservative and pro-business rule today.”  

U.S. Representative Glenn Grothman (WI-06): “The Obama-era Risk Management Program rule has been in need of revision for years. Before this revision, anybody, including people who wish to harm our country, had access to the location of hazardous chemicals throughout the country. This revised rule will bolster the safety of these facilities by withholding these details, while retaining first responders’ access to this and other safety information. These changes are another example of President Trump’s commitment to rolling back burdensome regulations with smart solutions. This revised rule not only creates less paperwork for businesses, but prioritizes the safety of workers, communities and first responders.”

TRADE ORGANIZATIONS

The Agricultural Retailers Association: “The Agricultural Retailers Association comments the EPA in today's issuance of the RMP Reconsideration Final Rule. These changes proposed by EPA will promote better emergency planning and public information about accidents while resulting in significant cost savings for RMP-regulated facilities. Building productive relationships with local first responders will foster a better understanding of the facility and ensure first responders know how to approach the facility in the event of an accident to reduce risk and limit the potential for more significant damage or threat to the local community.”

National Association of Chemical Distributors Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Jennifer Gibson: “NACD shares EPA’s goals of preventing chemical accidents and improving preparedness and supports the approach the agency has taken in the Risk Management Program Reconsideration Final Rule... Owners and operators of NACD member companies have a personal stake in the safety and security of their employees, companies, and communities. They demonstrate this through their commitment to NACD Responsible Distribution®, participation in Local Emergency Planning Committees, and careful compliance with numerous environmental, safety, and security regulations at the federal, state, and local levels. Therefore, the top priority of EPA should not be expansion of regulations such as RMP for those already in compliance, but rather a dedicated effort to make sure all chemical facilities are aware of and have a full understanding of their regulatory obligations.”

American Petroleum Institute Refining, Downstream and Industry Operations Manager Ron Chittim: “We welcome the EPA’s efforts to adhere to the statutory scope of the Clean Air Act and issue performance-based RMP regulations that provide both regulatory consistency and appropriately balance transparency with national security and public safety.”

American Chemistry Council Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs Mike Walls: “We commend the EPA for developing a rule that reflects the extensive feedback the agency received through a comprehensive and thoughtful process to seek public input. The agency wisely incorporated the recommendation to strike the right balance of sharing vital safety information with emergency responders and protecting sensitive security information. EPA also followed the recommendation to utilize the EPA’s latest data to identify areas where more focused compliance assistance is needed to help facilities further reduce the number of reportable safety incidents. Most importantly, EPA’s changes to RMP will provide a strong regulatory framework for our industry to continue our work to safeguard chemical facilities and to work with our state and local partners to plan for a potential emergency.”