ACC, Others Comment on EPA's 'Risk Management Program Rule' Hearing

They shared concerns regarding EPA’s new requirements.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

May 8, 2024

3 Min Read
ACC, Others Comment on EPA's RPM Rule Hearing
The RMP rule requires facilities using hazardous substances to develop a Risk Management Plan. slexp880 / iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

The House Energy and Commerce Committee's hearing, "EPA’s RMP Rule: Failures To Protect The American People And American Manufacturing," was held yesterday.

For background, the Risk Management Program (RMP) rule implements Section 112(r) of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments to improve chemical accident prevention at facilities. The RMP rule requires facilities that use extremely hazardous substances to develop a Risk Management Plan. 

The American Chemistry Council shared concerns regarding EPA’s new requirements for conducting alternative assessments and the security risks created by changes to safeguards on sensitive information. The organization expressed those same concerns when EPA issued its rule earlier this year.

ACC and other industry groups sent a letter to Congressional leadership a few weeks ago and expressed their support for Rep. Crenshaw’s CRA resolution introduced in March.

The comments during the hearing reiterate ACC’s support for the Risk Management Program (RMP) and point out that RMP is one of several programs that have helped reduce chemical safety incidents by 80%. Despite decades of success, ACC is concerned that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chose to ignore its own data to impose problematic changes to RMP that threaten national security and supply chain resiliency.

“EPA has discarded its successful approach for enhancing chemical facility safety. Instead, the agency has imposed broad new mandates that will not reduce the risk of accidental releases,” said Dr. Kimberly Wise White, vice president of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs in comments submitted to the committee. “We are further concerned that the rule weakens important safeguards needed to protect sensitive information, potentially increasing the risk of a harmful chemical incident. The new RMP rule adds to a surge in misguided regulations that undermine the ability of chemical manufacturers to create essential products here in the US and support the broader economy.”

In her comments, Dr. Wise White highlights two especially troubling changes EPA made to RMP:

  • EPA’s new information disclosure requirements put communities and national security at risk by weakening safeguards put in place to prevent terrorists and other bad actors from exploiting sensitive information collected about chemical facilities. 

  • EPA has failed to demonstrate that its new Safer Technology & Alternatives Assessment Analysis (STAA) provisions will improve rates of accidental releases. EPA’s own history provides multiple explanations as to why a STAA requirement should not be required, and the Agency has noted before that states that have implemented such requirements in their own regulations do not see significant differences in the rate of accidental releases. 

The comments also explain that EPA’s new rule undermines the goals of the Biden-Harris Administration to revitalize US manufacturing and jobs through legislation passed by Congress, including the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. For example, the rule’s new requirements will make it harder to produce chemistries in America that are vital to clean drinking water, semiconductors, and electric vehicles.

“The RMP rule will make it more difficult to manufacture these critical chemistries without providing any significant added safety benefit, will only hinder the Administration’s goals, weaken the country’s supply chain, and increase the costs on vital products and services for Americans,” Dr. Wise White concluded. 

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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