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.