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EPA Proposes to Delay Effective Date of RMP Rule Amendments to 2019

On April 3, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposed rule that would delay the effective date of the recent Risk Management Program (RMP) rule amendments to February 19, 2019. 82 Fed. Reg. 16146 (Apr. 3, 2019).

EPA published amendments to the 40 C.F.R. Part 68 RMP rule in the final days of the Obama administration. 82 Fed. Reg. 4594 (Jan. 13, 2017). Those amendments changed a number of RMP program elements, including compliance audits, the process hazard analysis (PHA) process, emergency response drills and preparedness activities, and information sharing with the public and local emergency responders. While the compliance date for most of the substantive RMP changes is four years after the effective date of the amendments, implementation of the changes would require action well in advance of the compliance date, and other requirements – most notably an expansion in scope of compliance audits – will affect sources after the amendments become effective.

The RMP rule amendments have been the subject of significant scrutiny and several regulatory developments since the final rule was published in the Federal Register. Petitions for reconsideration have been filed by two industry groups and a coalition of states, and in response, EPA has extended the effective date of the amendments twice: pushing the original effective date (March 14, 2017) back to March 21, 2017, and further to June 19, 2017. See 82 Fed. Reg. 13,968 (Mar. 16, 2017). In addition, both houses of Congress have filed resolutions seeking to repeal the RMP amendments under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

The proposed rule published on April 3 would delay the effective date of the RMP rule amendments again by nearly two years, to February 19, 2019. EPA explains in the proposal that the delay would allow the agency to evaluate the issues raised in the petitions for reconsideration. EPA plans to issue, in the near future, a notice of proposed rulemaking that will provide the public an opportunity to comment on the issues raised in the petitions and “any other matter” that EPA believes will benefit from additional public input.

EPA will take comment on the proposed delay in the effective date of the RMP rule amendments until May 19, 2017, giving it 30 days after the close of the comment period to take action prior to the amendments’ current effective date.

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© 2021 Bracewell LLPNational Law Review, Volume VII, Number 93
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About this Author

Whit Swift, Bracewell Law Firm, Environmental Strategies Attorney
Partner

Whit advises industrial companies on state and federal air quality permitting and regulations, such as Title V operating permit matters and state and federal new source review permitting. He represents clients in environmental litigation matters and has contested permit matters before the Texas State office of Administrative Hearings.

He has experience assisting major manufacturing, energy, chemical, and petrochemical companies to develop and implement state and federal preconstruction and operating strategies, and provided counsel on compliance...

512-494-3658
Kevin D. Collins, Bracewell, Government Investigations Attorney, Chemicals Sector lawyer,
Partner

Kevin is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney from the Eastern District of Texas. He is a trial lawyer and has experience trying cases to jury verdict in state and federal court.

He also assists companies responding to government investigations after major industrial accidents and chemical releases in the energy and chemical sectors. Kevin has experience responding to investigations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Pipeline and Hazardous...

512-494-3640
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