EPA Risk Management Programs

U.S. Court of Appeals Ends Delay of EPA’s RMP Changes

On January 13, 2017, EPA finalized amendments to the Accidental Release Prevention Requirements for Risk Management Programs under Section 112(r)(7)of the Clean Air Act,. This rule is known as the “2017 RMP Amendments rule.

In June of 2017, EPA published a subsequent rule which delayed the effective date of the 2017 RMP Amendments rule until February 19, 2019. The reason for the June 2017 rule was to provide EPA with time to consider petitions for reconsideration of the January 2017 rule, and to revise or rescind the January 2017 rule. The June 2017 rule proposed rescinding the following requirements from the 2017 RMP Amendments rule: safer alternative technology, third-party audits, incident investigations, and information availability.

Various parties filed a petition for judicial review of the June 2017 delay rule to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Court. On August 17, 2018, this court issued a decision vacating the June 2017 EPA regulation. Then, on September 21, 2018, the court mandated that the 2017 RMP Amendments rule become immediately effective.

On December 3, 2018, EPA published a final rule incorporating the RMP Amendments in 40 CFR Part 68. The final rule, found here, includes the following changes:
  • Emergency Coordination
    • Facility must coordinate annually with LEPC and document activities.
    • Facility must provide LEPC with: emergency response plan (if one exists), emergency action plan, emergency contact information, and any other pertinent information. 
  • Emergency Response Program
    • Reinforces need to inform Federal and state emergency response agencies about accidental releases.
    • Reinforces need to review and update emergency response plan.
    • Reinforces need to inform employees of the changes to the emergency response plan.
  • Prevention Program
    • Include findings from incident investigations in the Hazard Review.
    • Employee training requirements also apply to supervisors.
    • Compliance Audits must be conducted for each covered process at least every three years.
  • Incident Investigation Reports
    • Previously called “summaries”, these reports must be completed within 12 months of the incident.
    • The content of the Incident Investigation reports has been expanded significantly.
    • The phrase “near miss” was added to describe incidents that could reasonably have resulted in a catastrophic release.
    • Facilities must create these reports even when a catastrophic release results in the affected process being decommissioned.
Process Safety Information - Program 3. Reinforces need to keep process safety information up-to-date.
Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) - Program 3. Include findings from incident investigations in the PHA, as well as any other potential failure scenarios.
Additional Modifications
  • EPA is proposing to modify amendments relating to local emergency coordination, emergency exercises, and public meetings, and to change the compliance dates for these provisions.
  • EPA proposes these changes to address: potential security risks associated with new information disclosure requirements introduced in the final Amendments rule, reasonableness of regulatory costs compared to benefits of the rule, concerns about maintaining consistency with the OSHA PSM standard, impacts of the finding by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF) that the West Fertilizer incident was caused by arson, and other issues.
Source: www.epa.gov/rmp/risk-management-plan-rmp-delay-rule-vacatur