The current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Gina McCarthy, has quickly turned around final amendments to the RMP Rule as a result of requirements under Executive Order 13650 issued by President Obama: “Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security.” The rule was signed on December 21, 2016 and EPA is submitting it for publication. The new changes will be effective 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. CAPACCIO will provide the link to the official regulation once it has been published. A link will also be available on the Government Printing Office’s FDsys website (https://www.gpo.gov/).
Why do we need these changes and what are they?
EPA has data that suggests that current methods to prevent and mitigate releases of reportable chemicals are insufficient. There have been 58 deaths and nearly 500,000 people evacuated or sheltered-in-place in the last 10 years. Therefore, the changes made to the rule are meant to improve accident prevention RMP program elements, enhance emergency preparedness requirements, and provide local emergency responders and the community with more use-friendly access to chemical information and emergency response information at the facility.
Specifically, the final rule requires:
- Program 3 facilities in paper manufacturing, petroleum and coal product manufacturing, and chemical manufacturing to include a Safer Technology and Alternatives Analysis (STAA) in the Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) and determine feasibility of Inherently Safer Technology (IST);
- Program 2 and 3 facilities to conduct a third-party audit and root cause analysis after an incident;
- Changes to some of the regulatory definitions and some of the elements submitted in a facility’s Risk Management Plan to the EPA;
- All program level facilities to make chemical hazard information more readily available to the public; and
- Program 2 and 3 facilities to conduct annual coordination activities with the local emergency planning committee (LEPC) and emergency responders (Fire Department and other emergency personnel), as well as conduct tabletop and field exercises to test their emergency response programs.
It is uncertain whether the change in political climate will affect these changes to the regulations, but we are following the rule closely and will keep you informed of the developments.
If you have questions about the Risk Management Program or Risk Management Plans, please contact Christine Silverman at 508-970-0033 ext. 127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.