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EPA Further Delays RMP Effective Date

On Monday, March 13, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) further delayed the effective date of the Risk Management Program Final Rule (RMP Final Rule) until June 19, 2017, citing a petition for reconsideration submitted by the "RMP Coalition." This coalition, which includes the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, argued that "numerous procedural flaws" in the rulemaking process prevented an effective public comment period. In its announcement, EPA stated that at least one of the group's objections merited reconsideration, and indicated the Agency would prepare a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to allow public comment on issues raised in the petition and "any other matter [EPA believes] will benefit from additional comment."

In its petition, the RMP Coalition objects to the rulemaking process, as well as several new provisions in the Final Rule. Specific objections include:

  • New requirements to disclose "relevant" information to Local Emergency Planning Committees would pose significant security risks;

  • Agencies would have a broader and more subjective basis for initiating a third-party audit;

  • Certain necessary cost-benefit information was omitted from the rulemaking record; and

  • A "stealth change" to the scope of compliance audits would require facilities to evaluate all covered processes, rather than a sample of covered processes, every three years.

The coalition also argued that EPA should "reconsider the entire focus" of the Final Rule in light of the determination that the West, Texas incident was an intentional act of arson. The RMP rulemaking, as well as efforts by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to revise the Process Safety Management standard, are the result of Executive Order 13650, Improving Chemical Safety and Security, issued by President Obama in the wake of that incident.

According to the EPA's announcement, the Agency will continue to post documents and information to Docket-EPA-HQ-OEM-2015-0725, available at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OEM-2015-0725.

©2017 Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

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About this Author

Jessica Wilson, Environmental Attorney, Katten Law Firm
Associate

Jessica Wilson concentrates her practice in environmental, health and safety (EHS) enforcement matters, crisis management, and workplace incident response. She counsels clients in connection with major industrial accidents, crisis response, process safety incidents and workplace fatalities. Jessica has helped clients respond to investigations by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and state regulatory agencies. She has worked with...

512.691.4019
Danny Worrell, Environmental Litigation, Superfund, Katten Law Firm
Partner

Danny Worrell focuses his practice on environmental contested case permitting and enforcement, Superfund litigation, and transactions and investigations involving environmental matters. He advises clients on regulatory compliance involving solid and hazardous waste, air quality, water quality, injection wells, underground and above-ground storage tanks, asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), water and wastewater utilities, pesticides and pipelines, and in situuranium mining.

Danny previously worked as a geologist for the ARCO Oil and Gas Company, specializing in oil and gas exploration. While attending law school, he was a member of the staff of the Houston Journal of International Law. Danny has earned an MS and a BS in geology.

512.691.4012