EPA Finalizes Amendments to RMP Rule to Protect Communities from Chemical Accidents

On March 1, EPA finalized amendments to the Risk Management Program (RMP) under the Clean Air Act to protect at-risk communities from chemical accidents. The existing RMP rule requires facilities that use extremely hazardous substances to develop a Risk Management Plan which:

  • identifies the potential effects of a chemical accident,
  • identifies steps the facility is taking to prevent an accident, and
  • spells out emergency response procedures should an accident occur.

The “Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention Rule” is the most protective safety rule for chemical facilities in the country’s history and requires more robust measures for prevention, preparedness, and public transparency. The rule requires industry to “prevent accidental releases of dangerous chemicals that could otherwise cause deaths and injuries, damage property and the environment, or require surrounding communities to evacuate or shelter-in-place.” Regulated facilities are now required to perform a safer technologies and alternatives analysis, and in some cases, will be required to implement reliable safeguard measures. EPA expects this new requirement to reduce the frequency and severity of chemical accidents.