By Eric J. Conn, Micah Smith, and Beeta Lashkari
EPA RMP Public Hearing
This week, on September 26-28, 2022, EPA has been hosting virtual public hearings related to its Risk Management Program (RMP) rulemaking. Specifically, the hearings are addressing the RMP Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention (SCCAP) proposed rule, which was signed by EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan on August 18, 2022, and proposes revisions to the RMP Rule to further protect vulnerable communities from chemical accidents, especially those living near facilities with high accident rates. Per the EPA, “The proposed rule would strengthen the existing program and includes new safeguards that have not been addressed in prior RMP rules.”
The virtual public hearings will provide the opportunity to present information, comments or views pertaining to the SCCAP proposed rule. In addition, EPA is accepting written comments during the public comment period, which closes on October 31, 2022.
For background, the RMP Rule has had a long and tortured rulemaking and litigation history. EPA amended the RMP Rule on January 13, 2017, in the final days of the Obama Administration, following President Obama’s Executive Order (EO) 13650, “Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security,” which directed EPA and other federal agencies to modernize policies, regulations, and standards to enhance safety and security in chemical facilities. More details on the EO in the “OSHA PSM Stakeholder Meeting” section below.
EPA then received three petitions for reconsideration of the 2017 rule, and in December 2019, EPA issued a final rule reconsidering the changes made in January 2017. There are petitions for judicial review of both the 2017 amendments and the 2019 reconsideration rules. Specifically, the 2019 reconsideration rule challenges are being held in abeyance until October 3, 2022, by which time the parties must submit motions to govern, and the case against the 2017 amendments rule is in abeyance pending resolution of the 2019 reconsideration rule case.
So far as the SCCAP proposed rule is concerned, EPA issued a Continue reading