Pre-publication version of RMP proposal is now available

Amendments intended to enhance existing requirements

Posted March 1, 2016

EPA just posted a pre-publication copy of its Risk Management Program (RMP) proposed rule. This latest action came after the Office of Management and Budget approved the proposal on February 24. The official proposed rule, however, should be published in the Federal Register in the coming days or weeks. According to the agency, the revised regulations, if finalized, would improve chemical process safety, assist local emergency authorities in planning for and responding to accidents, and improve public awareness of chemical hazards at regulated sources.

While numerous chemical plants are operated safely, EPA reports that in the last 10 years more than 1,500 accidents were reported by RMP facilities. These accidents are responsible for causing nearly 60 deaths, some 17,000 people being injured or seeking medical treatment, and almost 500,000 people being evacuated or sheltered-in-place, and costing more than $2 billion in property damages.

The Accidental Release Prevention regulations under 40 CFR 68, also known as the RMP regulations, have long required covered facilities to develop, implement, and submit a risk management plan to EPA. The agency shares RMP information with state and local officials to help them plan for and prevent chemical accidents and releases.

The proposed revisions to EPA’s RMP regulations is a key action item under President Obama’s Executive Order (EO) 13650, Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security. The proposed amendments are intended to improve existing risk management plan requirements to enhance chemical safety at RMP facilities by:

  • Requiring the consideration of safer technologies and alternatives by including the assessment of Inherently Safer Technologies and Designs in the Process Hazard Assessment;
  • Requiring third-party audits and root-cause analysis to identify process safety improvements for accident prevention;
  • Enhancing emergency planning and preparedness requirements to help ensure coordination between facilities and local communities;
  • Strengthening emergency response planning to help ensure emergency response capabilities are available to mitigate the effect of a chemical accident;
  • Improving the ability of LEPCs (Local Emergency Planning Committees) and local emergency response officials to better prepare for emergencies both individually and with one another; and
  • Improving access to information to help the public understand the risks at RMP facilities.

This proposal is the result of a review undertaken to modernize the existing EPA RMP and information gathered from feedback obtained during listening sessions, webinars, meetings with stakeholder groups, stakeholder conferences, and public comments in response to EPA’s 2014 Request for Information.

The public will have 60 days from publication of the proposal in the Federal Register to submit written comments online to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or by mail.

An unofficial pre-publication of the proposed rule is available to review at this time on the EPA website. Please note that the official copy will be provided upon publication in the Federal Register.


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