Final Amendments to the Risk Management Program (RMP) Rule
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August 17, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court issued its decision vacating a June 2017 EPA rulemaking. For more information, please see: Risk Management Plan (RMP) Delay Rule Vacatur.
On May 17, 2018, EPA's Administrator signed a proposed rule requesting public comment on several proposed changes to the final RMP Amendments issued on January 13, 2017. For more information, please see: Proposed Risk Management Program (RMP) Reconsideration Rule.
Final Amendments Overview
EPA has finalized amendments to the Accidental Release Prevention Requirements for Risk Management Programs under the Clean Air Act, Section 112(r)(7). The amendments aim to modernize EPA's RMP regulations as required under Executive Order (EO) 13650. EO 13650 directs the federal government to carry out a number of tasks intended to prevent chemical incidents, such as the explosion in West, Texas on April 17, 2013.
The amendments are intended to:
- Address and improve accident prevention program elements;
- Enhance the emergency preparedness requirements;
- Ensure LEPCs (Local Emergency Planning Committees), local emergency response officials, and the public can access information in a user-friendly format to help them understand the risks at RMP facilities and better prepare for emergencies.
On August 1, 2013, President Obama issued EO 13650: Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security following several catastrophic chemical facility incidents in the United States. The focus of the EO is to reduce risks associated with hazardous chemicals to owners and operators, workers, and communities by enhancing the safety and security of chemical facilities.
The keys areas of emphasis under the EO are:
- Strengthening community planning and preparedness,
- Enhancing federal operational coordination,
- Improving data management, and
- Modernizing policies and regulations.
On July 31, 2014, the Risk Management Program (RMP) Request for Information (RFI) was published in the Federal Register. The RFI sought comment on potential revisions to EPA’s RMP regulations and related programs to modernize its regulations, guidance, and policies as required under the EO. The public comment period closed October 29, 2014. Public comments may be viewed at: Regulations.gov.
On November 4, 2015, EPA invited small businesses, governments, and not-for-profit organizations to participate as Small Entity Representatives (SERs) for a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel.
On March 14, 2016, EPA published the Proposed Rule: Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs Under the Clean Air Act, Section 112(r)(7)(PDF)(76 pp, 811 K, About PDF).
On January 13, 2017, the final rule was published in the Federal Register.
EPA received a petition dated February 28, 2017, from the RMP Coalition, representing several trade associations. The petition requests a reconsideration and request for stay for the RMP rule amendments, published January 13, 2017.
On March 13, 2017, EPA's Administrator convened a proceeding for reconsideration of the RMP rule amendments.
On March 16, 2017, EPA published a final rule that provides a three-month (90-day) administrative stay of the effective date of the RMP rule amendments, delaying the effective date of the final rule to June 19, 2017.
received two additional petitions requesting a reconsideration and request for stay for the RMP rule amendments, published January 13, 2017.
The second petition, dated March 13, 2017, was from the Chemical Safety Advocacy Group (CSAG), a coalition of companies in the refining, oil and gas, chemicals and general manufacturing sector.
CSAG also submitted a supplement to their petition on March 14, 2017.
The third petition, dated March 14, 2017, was from the State of Louisiana, joined by ten other states (Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin and West Virginia).
RMP Delay Rule History
On April 3, 2017, EPA published a proposed rule to further delay the effective date of the RMP rule amendments for 20 months until February 19, 2019. This action allowed EPA to consider several petitions for reconsideration of the RMP rule amendments and take further regulatory action. EPA held a public hearing regarding the proposed effective date on April 19, 2017. The comment period closed on May 19, 2017.
On June 9, 2017, the EPA Administrator signed a final rule to further delay the effective date of the RMP rule amendments for 20 months until February 19, 2019. EPA is conducting a reconsideration proceeding to review objections raised by petitioners to the final RMP amendments rule. This delay of the effective date will allow EPA to complete the reconsideration process and to consider other issues that may benefit from additional comment.
Response to Comments on the 2017 Proposed Rule Further Delaying the Effective Date of EPA’s Risk Management Program Amendments (April 3, 2017; 82 FR 16146), June 2017.