Risk Management Program
What is it?
EPA established the Risk Management Program (RMP) rule to prevent and mitigate the release of certain hazardous substances. The program requires facilities that use extremely hazardous substances to develop comprehensive plans that provide valuable information to emergency responders to prepare for and respond to potential chemical emergencies. EPA reviews the plans and conducts inspections and penalizes companies for not taking sufficient action. RMP is one of several federal programs that regulates safety at chemical facilities.
Why is it successful?
The current RMP rule requires facilities to consider a wide range of factors and identify potential safety risks. The facility must submit a plan that spells out the steps being taken to address potential safety issues. For years, EPA has pursued a collaborative and performance-driven approach which helped drive down chemical related incidents by nearly 75%.
What’s the problem?
EPA is abandoning the collaborative and data-driven approach that has delivered demonstratable safety benefits to communities to impose a scattershot approach of complex, unnecessary regulatory mandates.
Removing Safeguards on Sensitive Information
ACC’s members fully respect neighboring communities’ need to know what materials are being used onsite. Facilities already provide a variety of information, including chemical inventories, to government regulatory agencies, law enforcement, and local emergency planners. However, EPA’s proposal could remove safeguards put in place after 9/11 attacks to prevent the misuse of sensitive information. This could create opportunities for terrorists to gather information and disrupt responses to emergencies.
Changes Not Supported by Data
Natural hazards have been the cause of only one percent of incidents reported at chemical manufacturing plants. However, EPA proposes requiring all sites to overemphasize risks from natural hazards in their RMP assessments. This requirement could shift the program’s focus from higher priority safety issues.
Questionable and Problematic Mandates
EPA’s proposal would impose unnecessary and unworkable mandates to adopt alternative technologies or chemicals on facilities that could jeopardize the supply of critical goods, including food production, water purification and gasoline manufacturing. The mandate would be triggered solely because a facility is located near another RMP site. EPA has provided no evidence that such facilities pose a greater risk of accidental releases or that these mandates would improve safety.