Proposed Risk Management Program (RMP) Reconsideration Rule

More than 5 years after President Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13650, sending us down this winding road, the EPA is proposing changes to a final rule, the Risk Management Program (RMP) Amendments (82 FR 4594, January 13, 2017) to better address potential security risks and reasonable consideration of costs. The proposed changes are intended to promote better emergency planning and public information about accidents and maintain the trend of fewer significant accidents involving chemicals regulated under the RMP rule. The proposal reflects issues raised in three petitions for reconsideration of the RMP Amendments as well as other revisions the EPA identified in its review of that rule. The proposed rule was signed on May 17, 2018. A public hearing is scheduled for June 14, 2018, and the proposed rule has a 60-day comment period.

The RMP Reconsideration Rule proposes the following changes to the RMP Amendments final rule:

  • Rescinding all accident prevention program provisions of the RMP Amendments rule (i.e., third party audits, safer technology and alternatives analyses, incident investigation root cause analysis, and most other minor changes to the prevention program) so that EPA can better coordinate revisions to the RMP rule with OSHA and its PSM standard and reduce regulatory costs. (An alternative proposal would retain certain minor changes to the prevention program provisions.)
  • Rescinding most of the public information availability provisions of the RMP Amendments rule that would have provided redundant, less secure means of access to information that is available through better controlled means, while retaining the provision requiring a public meeting after an accident but with minor language modifications.
  • Modifying the emergency coordination and exercise provisions of the Amendments rule to address security concerns raised by petitioners and give more flexibility to regulated facilities in complying with these provisions.
  • Establishing compliance dates that are:
    • one year after the effective date of a final rule for the emergency coordination provisions,
    • two years after the effective date for the public meeting provisions,
    • four years after the effective date for the emergency exercise provisions, and
    • five years after the effective date for incorporating new Subpart G data elements into a facility’s risk management plan.

EPA is reconsidering the final RMP Amendments Rule based on objections highlighted in three petitions submitted to the Agency under Clean Air Act section 307(d)(7)(B) and based on its own review of that rule. The proposal addresses:

  • potential security risks associated with new information disclosure requirements introduced in the final rule,
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF’s) finding that a key incident affecting US chemical safety policy, a fire and explosion in West, Texas, was caused by a criminal act (arson) rather than being the result of an accident,
  • concerns with EPA’s economic analysis, and
  • concerns that EPA did not coordinate its rulemaking with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Rule History

August 1, 2013 – President Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13650

March 14, 2016 – EPA published the Proposed Rule

January 13, 2017, the Final Rule was published in the Federal Register

February 28, 2017 – EPA receives petition requesting reconsideration and stay for the Final Rule

March 16, 2017 – Final Rule  provides 90-day stay of the effective date of the RMP amendments

April 3, 2017 – EPA Proposed Rule to further delay RMP amendments until February 19, 2019

June 9, 2017 – EPA Final Rule to further delay RMP amendments until February 19, 2019

May 17, 2018 – EPA Proposed Rule on several changes to the RMP amendments


Contributed by Isaac Smith, Environmental Compliance Manager