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Comment Period for USEPA Risk Management Program Ends in October

USEPAThe United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is seeking comments on potential revisions to its Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations and related programs before the October 29, 2014 deadline. The Request For Information (RFI) comes in response to the Executive Order (EO) 13650 Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security signed by President Barack Obama.

A 2013 explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant prompted the creation of EO 13650, to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities, as well as reduce the risk posed by accidental releases of hazardous chemicals to facility workers and operators, communities, and responders. EO 13650 requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and USEPA to review the chemical hazards covered by existing RMP regulations and develop options to improve those programs.

USEPA is asking for information and data on specific regulatory elements and process safety management approaches to enhance public health and safety, as well as aid local fire, police, and emergency response personnel to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies. The information 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. It is important to note that the RFI does not commit the agency to rulemaking.

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 the inclusion of 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. 

The USEPA's RFI requests information and data about specific regulatory elements and process safety management approaches, the public and environmental health and safety risks they address, and the costs and burdens they may entail. USEPA will use the information received in response to this RFI to decide whether any action will be taken. To submit a comment to the Federal Register about the USEPA's RMP RFI, click here.


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