EPA Solicits Comments on Risk Management Plan Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding two virtual public listening sessions this summer as it evaluates changes the Trump administration made to the Risk Management Plan rule.

The USW plans to voice its suggestions to improve the rule so that it better protects workers, communities and the environment. This includes adding greater transparency, commonsense requirements for companies to prevent future catastrophic events, worker involvement in preventing incidents and use of inherently safer materials.

The original rule grew out of section 112(r) of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments and requires certain industrial facilities to prevent air releases of hazardous chemicals that could cause deaths, injuries, property and environmental damage or evacuations in surrounding communities.

These facilities must develop a Risk Management Plan that identifies the potential effects of a chemical accident, outlines what the facility is doing to prevent an incident, and details the emergency response procedures should an incident happen.

These plans give needed information for first responders to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies in their community, and are available to the public.

After a series of catastrophic chemical plant incidents, President Obama issued an executive order to strengthen the rule. EPA finalized these changes 2017, but the Trump administration refused to implement the strengthened rule, so the USW and its allies sued the agency in 2018.

On December 19, 2019, the Trump administration finalized its own RMP Reconsideration Rule, which  threw out many of the major incident prevention program initiatives in the 2017 RMP amendments, such as third-party audits, use of safer technology and chemicals, and incident investigation using root cause analysis.

President Biden signed an executive order  on Jan. 20, 2021, mandating a review of the RMP rule.

Make your voice heard

USW locals and members can give their views on the revisions made to the RMP rule since 2017 at two virtual public listening sessions scheduled for June 16, 2021, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. eastern time and July 8, 2021, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. eastern time.

Sign up for a 3-minute speaking slot on EPA’s website.

Written comments can be submitted via the docket at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OLEM-2021-0312 until July 15, 2021.

OSHA will also participate in the listening sessions and receive comments on its Process Safety Management standard, which has similar requirements to the Risk Management Program rule.

More information available

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For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

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