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Senators Urge EPA to Implement Risk Management Program Amendments

Monday, August 28, 2017

Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tom Carper (D-DE) are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to "Immediately Implement" amendments to the agency's Risk Management Program rule.

In a letter to the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the senators state:

“We are writing to urge you to withdraw the June 14, 2017 final rule delaying implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Amendments to the Accidental Release Prevention Requirements for Risk Management Programs under the Clean Air Act. We ask that you immediately implement these critical safeguards to ensure protections for first responders, facility workers, and communities living adjacent to chemical facilities.”

The senators go on to cite the “extensive process undertaken by the agency to finalize these critical updates.” Citing the rulemaking timeline, provided in the letter and seen below, the senators reference multiple delays to the initial effective date of March 14, 2017. The most recent delay came on June 14th, pushing the effective date from June 19, 2017 to February 19, 2019. According to the timeline, the EPA first issued a request for information to solicit stakeholder feedback on a number of potential modifications to the RMP regulations in July of 2014.

Rulemaking Timeline

  • July 31, 2014: The EPA issued a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit stakeholder feedback on a number of potential modifications to the RMP regulations.
  • November 4, 2015: The EPA invited small businesses, governments, and trade associations to participate in a Small Business Advocacy Review panel.
  • March 14, 2016: The EPA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking.
  • February 9, 2016-December 9, 2016: The EPA held 29 meetings between various stakeholders, including small businesses, industry trade associations, community groups, labor groups, and others and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs/Office of Management and Budget/EPA.
  • January 13, 2017: The rule was published in the Federal Register with an initial effective date of March 14, 2017.
  • January 20, 2017: Former Chief of Staff to President Donald Trump, Reince Priebus, issued a memo delaying all rules not yet in effect by 60 days.
  • March 13, 2017: The EPA stayed the rule an additional 90 days, until June 19, 2017.
  • April 3, 2017: The EPA published a proposed rule delaying the effective date of the rule until February 19, 2019.
  • April 19, 2017: The EPA held a public meeting on the proposed rule to delay the effective date.
  • May 2017: The EPA received comments from the United Steelworkers, the International Association of Firefighters and other emergency response officials, and a coalition of groups whose members live near the fencelines of chemical facilities calling on the EPA not to delay the rule, because their lives and safety are at stake.  
  • June 14, 2017: EPA published a final rule delaying the effective date of the RMP Amendments until February 19, 2019.
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