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EPA Finalizes RMP Reconsideration Rule

On November 20, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed the Risk Management Program (RMP) Reconsideration Rule as a result of three petitions submitted to reconsider the RMP regulations mandated in 2017. According to the EPA, this new rule rescinds and modifies certain revisions in order to “better address potential security risks, reduce unnecessary and ineffective regulatory burdens on facilities and emergency responders, harmonize rather than conflict with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Process Safety Management standard, address the concerns of stakeholders,” and save unnecessary costs for facilities and regulatory departments.

The following provisions have been modified under the EPA’s RMP Reconsideration Rule and may impact regulated facilities:

  • Retains the requirement that facilities must annually coordinate with local response organizations in order to reduce the impacts of a potential incident.

Compliance Date: March 14, 2018

  • Modifies emergency coordination provisions to address security concerns with the 2017 amendment. Emergency response planners may now only obtain information that is necessary to complete and implement local emergency response plans.

Compliance Date: N/A

  • Retains annual emergency notification drill provisions.

Compliance Date: First notification must be performed five years after date of publication

  • Retains the requirement to perform tabletop exercises with facility personnel and local responding agencies to discuss emergency response practices in the event of an incident.

Compliance Date: First tabletop exercise is due seven years after date of publication

  • Modifies the frequency of field exercises as well as the scope of the documentation required for the field exercise and evaluation report to provide more flexibility to local emergency responders.

Compliance Date: Date is determined by owner/operator of facility and local emergency response agencies

  • Retains the requirement to hold a public meeting within 90 days after an accident, but only applies the requirement to accidents with offsite impacts.

Compliance Date: Following any RMP reportable accident with offsite impacts that occurs after March 15, 2021

The following provisions have been rescinded under the EPA’s RMP Reconsideration Rule unless specifically required by the EPA:

  • Third party audits are no longer required
  • The need to conduct a Safer Technologies and Alternatives Analysis (STAA) has been rescinded to avoid unnecessary costs and potential overlap of the safer technologies implemented within the Process Hazard Analysis (PHA)
  • Conducting an Incident Investigation Root Cause Analysis after a reportable incident or near miss is no longer required in order to maintain consistency with OSHA PSM standards
  • The availability of facility RMP information will no longer be made available to the public due to security/terrorism threats. However, State and Federal regulators and first responders will have no information restrictions under this new rule. The public can access RMP information through read-only access at Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs), Federal Reading Rooms or through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the EPA.

Ultimately, this new rule reduces regulatory requirements and security risks for facilities applicable to RMP Regulations

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