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EPA Amends Risk Management Program with Final Rule

Posted on 3/1/2024 by Nick Waldron

On March 1, US EPA finalized amendments to the Clean Air Act Risk Management Program (RMP) chemical emergency preparedness requirements. The intent of the Final Rule is to further protect at-risk communities from chemical accidents, especially those near facilities in industry sectors with high accident rates.

The Final Rule covers all 11,740 regulated RMP facilities across the country and contains more rigorous requirements for a subgroup of facilities that are more accident-prone and pose the greatest risk to communities.

Amendments include:

  • Requiring a safer technologies and alternatives analysis, and in some cases, implementation of reliable safeguard measures for certain facilities in industry sectors with high accident rates.
  • Advancing employee participation, training, and opportunities for employee decision-making in facility accident prevention, for example:
  • Reiterating the allowance of a partial or complete process shutdown in the event of a potential catastrophic release.
  • Implementing a process to allow employees and their representatives to anonymously report specific unaddressed hazards.
  • Requiring third-party compliance audits and root cause analysis incident investigation for facilities that have had a prior accident.
  • Enhancing facility planning and preparedness efforts to strengthen emergency response by ensuring chemical release information is timely shared with local responders and a community notification system is in place to warn the community of any impending release.
  • Emphasizing the requirement for regulated facilities to evaluate risks of natural hazards and climate change, including any associated loss of power.
  • Increasing transparency by providing access to RMP facility information for communities nearby.

EPA is working toward making RMP information available on the agency’s website, and credits robust stakeholder input and coordination with other Federal chemical safety and security agencies during the rulemaking process as vital in developing the Final Rule.

The Agency intends to share a query tool which will allow people to access information for RMPs in nearby communities.

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EH&S professionals who attend can identify the regulations that apply to their facility and locate key requirements to achieve compliance with the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to EPCRA, TSCA, Superfund, and more. Prefer to train at your own pace? Try the interactive online course.

Tags: Clean Air Act, Risk Management Plan, RMP

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