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EPA Publishes its Request for Information related to its RMP program

07/31/14

Source: SOCMA
Related Topics: Clean Air Act (as Amended)
EPA published its Request for Information related to its RMP program in today’s Federal Register.  The RMP can be found at:   https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/07/31/2014-18037/accidental-release-prevention-requirements-risk-management-programs-under-the-clean-air-act-section   Comments are due October 29. 

This RFI derives from President Obama’s August 2013 Executive Order (EO) 13650, entitled Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security.   The RFI “requests comment on potential revisions” to EPA’s RMP regulations and related programs.  More specifically, EPA has noted that it was asking for “information and data on specific regulatory elements and process safety management approaches to enhance public health and safety, and aid local fire, police, and emergency response personnel to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies. The information received will be used when reviewing chemical hazards covered by the RMP and to determine how this program should be expanded to improve chemical facility safety….”

Additionally, the RFI addresses:
  • potentially updating the list of RMP regulated substances; and
  • adjusting threshold quantities and toxic endpoints based on Acute Exposure Guideline Level (AEGL) toxicity values.
The RFI seeks comment on “strengthening or clarifying several existing process safety elements under the RMP including compliance audits, maintenance of safety critical equipment, managing organizational changes, emergency response capabilities, and incident investigation. It also seeks comment on adding additional risk management program elements, such as consideration of using inherently safer technology, process safety metrics, automated monitoring of releases, emergency drills, stop work authority, and addressing facility location (siting) risks.”

Unlike the Secretary of Labor, which was specifically required by the Executive Order to issue an RFI related to Process Safety Management (OSHA did so in December 2013), EPA was not specifically required to do so, but the Agency explains why it believes it is appropriate in the document.  EPA notes that the topics it focuses on are divided into two categories – those which are addressed in the OSHA RFI, and additional topics not raised by OSHA.  The Agency notes that the information collected under the RFI “will inform EPA as it considers what actions, if any, may be necessary to update the RMP regulations.  It does not commit the Agency to rulemaking.”






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