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EPA Administrator Signs RMP Final Rule

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy signed the Risk Management Program (RMP) final rule, which amends EPA's RMP regulations, and EPA is submitting it for publication in the Federal Register. The RMP rules implement Section 112(r) of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, and generally require facilities that use over a threshold quantity of extremely hazardous substances to develop an RMP. These plans must be revised and resubmitted to EPA every five years.

Although an official version is not yet available, the final rule is expected to contain several anticipated changes to the current program. Specifically, the final rule will likely require:

  • Program 3 facilities in the paper manufacturing, petroleum and coal products manufacturing, and chemical manufacturing industries to conduct a safer technology and alternatives analysis (STAA) and determine the feasibility of inherently safer technology (IST);

  • Program 2 and Program 3 processes to conduct third-party audits and incident investigation root cause analyses;

  • Increased public availability of chemical hazard information, including a requirement that certain chemical hazard information be made available to the public, upon request; and

  • Program 2 and Program 3 RMP facilities to coordinate annually with local emergency planning committees and emergency responders, as well as conduct tabletop and field exercises to test their emergency response programs.

The final rule will be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. A pre-publication version of the final rule is attached. When published, the final rule will be available at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OEM-2015-0725.

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Ben Patton, Katten Law Firm, Environmental Law Attorney
Partner

Ben Patton concentrates his practice on environmental, health and safety (EHS) regulatory and compliance matters involving major accidents, chemical releases and other workplace incidents. He routinely counsels companies in connection with major industrial accidents, crisis response, whistleblowers, process safety incidents and workplace fatalities. Ben has also advised multiple refining and chemical companies on agency investigations, environmental litigation and liability for groundwater contamination.

Ben has helped clients respond to...

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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 several refineries in connection with Cal/OSHA's recently implemented process safety Program Quality Verification (PQV) inspections.

Jessica also assists on environmental regulatory matters, including matters involving the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and climate change policy and regulation.

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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...

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