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EPA Delays RMP Rule for Two Years

Jun 2017

The EPA has announced it will delay implementation of an Obama-era rule that would make significant changes to the Risk Management Plans (RMP) required at certain chemical facilities. 

“We are seeking additional time to review the program, so that we can fully evaluate the public comments raised by multiple petitioners and consider other issues that may benefit from additional public input," Administrator Pruitt said in a statement.

Published just days before President Obama left office, the rule was developed in response to the West, TX fertilizer plant explosion on April 17, 2013, although, the incident was later found to be the result of arson.  The rule has been called one of Obama’s “midnight regulations” that was rushed in before the president left office.

RMP provides new guidance for chemical accident prevention at facilities that use certain hazardous substances.  The plan requires facility managers to publicly disclose the following information:

  • Hazard assessment that details the potential effects of an accidental release, an accident history of the last five years, and an evaluation of worst-case and alternative accidental releases;
  • Prevention program that includes safety precautions and maintenance, monitoring, and employee training measures; and
  • Emergency response program that spells out emergency health care, employee training measures and procedures for informing the public and response agencies (e.g the fire department) should an accident occur.

Opponents of the rule, including chemical manufacturers, note the potential security risks of publicly disclosing sensitive information that could fall into the hands of criminals or potential terrorists.