On Dec.19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its Risk Management Program (RMP) Reconsideration Final Rule the Federal Register. U.S. EPA decided to modify the 2017 RMP Final Rule Amendments in several ways, concluding that a better approach was to improve the performance of a subset of facilities by achieving greater compliance with RMP regulations instead of imposing additional regulatory requirements on the larger population of facilities that are already performing well in preventing accidental releases. As a result, EPA is rescinding some recent amendments to the regulations, modifying the requirements relating to emergency response and coordination, and changing compliance dates for some of the provisions.
EPA’s RMP applies to all stationary sources with processes that contain more than a threshold amount of a regulated substance. The program’s elements are intended to prevent accidental releases and reduce the severity of releases that occur.
Under the EPA program, all sources must prepare and submit an RMP to EPA at least every five years. In addition, RMP Program 3 facilities involve processes subject to OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) standard or are in one of the specified NAICS codes, such as chemical manufacturing. Together, PSM and RMP form the regulatory framework for prevention of catastrophic chemical accidents at fixed facilities. Several ACA companies have facilities subject to RMP requirements, including Program 3 facilities, which have the most stringent requirements.
In short, EPA’s RMP Reconsideration Final Rule does the following:
- Rescinds all major accident prevention program provisions of the 2017 RMP Amendments (i.e., third party audits, safer technology and alternatives analyses, incident investigation root cause analysis, etc.), and most other minor changes to the prevention program;
- Rescinds the public information availability provisions of the 2017 RMP Amendments;
- Retains the requirement to hold a public meeting within 90 days after an accident, but only applies the requirement to accidents with offsite impacts;
- Modifies the emergency coordination provisions to address security concerns with the 2017 RMP Amendments;
- Modifies the exercise provisions to give more flexibility to regulated facilities and local emergency responders in complying with the rule; and
- Modifies some compliance dates to provide necessary time for program changes (see below).
In the fall ACA issued member guidance to help industry navigate their compliance requirements under the final RMP amendments. ACA will be updating its guidance document for members to reflect the changes made in EPA’s reconsideration final rule.
More information can be found in EPA’s RMP Reconsideration Final Rule Fact Sheet.
Contact ACA’s Rhett Cash for more information.