The rules updating the Risk Management Program

The rules updating the Risk Management Program goes into effect on March 14. SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in response to Executive Order 13650, is amending its Risk Management Program regulations. The revisions contain several changes to the accident prevention program requirements including an additional analysis of safer technology and alternatives as part of the process hazard analysis for some Program 3 processes, third-party audits and incident investigation root cause analysis for Program 2 and Program 3 processes; enhancements to the emergency preparedness requirements; increased public availability of chemical hazard information; and several other changes to certain regulatory definitions and data elements submitted in risk management plans. These amendments seek to improve chemical process safety, assist local emergency authorities in planning for and responding to accidents, and improve public awareness of chemical hazards at regulated sources. DATES: This final rule is effective on March 14, 2017. I. General Information A. Executive Summary 1. Purpose of the Regulatory Action The purpose of this action is to improve safety at facilities that use and distribute hazardous chemicals. In response to catastrophic chemical facility incidents in the United States, including the explosion that occurred at the West Fertilizer facility in West, Texas, on April 17, 2013 that killed 15 people (on May 11, 2016, ATF ruled that the fire was intentionally set.) 1 President Obama issued Executive Order 13650, ‘‘Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security,’’ on August 1, 2013.2 Section 6(a)(i) of Executive Order 13650 requires that various Federal agencies develop options for improved chemical facility safety and security that identify ‘‘improvements to existing risk management practices through agency programs, private sector initiatives, Government guidance, outreach, standards, and regulations.’’ One existing agency program is the Risk Management Program implemented by EPA under section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) (42 U.S.C. 7412(r)). Section 6(c) of Executive Order 13650 requires the Administrator of EPA to review the chemical hazards covered by the Risk Management Program and expand, implement and enforce the Risk Management Program to address any additional hazards. EPA proposed changes to its Risk Management Program regulations (40 CFR part 68) on March 14, 2016 (81 FR 13637) after publishing a ‘‘Request for Information’’ notice or ‘‘RFI’’ that solicited comments and information from the public regarding potential changes to the Risk Management Program regulations (July 31, 2014, 79 FR 44604). While developing the proposed rulemaking, EPA convened a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel to receive input from Small Entity Representatives (SERs). EPA also hosted a public hearing on March 29, 2016 to provide interested parties the opportunity to present data, views or arguments concerning the proposed action. The Risk Management Program regulations have been effective in preventing and mitigating chemical accidents in the United States. However, EPA believes that revisions could further protect human health and the environment from chemical hazards through advancement of process safety management based on lessons learned. 2. Summary of the Major Provisions of the Regulatory Action This action amends EPA’s Risk Management Program regulations at 40 CFR part 68. These regulations apply to stationary sources (also referred to as ‘‘facilities’’) that hold specific ‘‘regulated substances’’ in excess of threshold quantities. These facilities are required to assess their potential release impacts, undertake steps to prevent releases, plan for emergency response to releases, and summarize this information in a risk management plan (RMP) submitted to EPA. The release prevention steps vary depending on the type of process, but progressively gain granularity and rigor over three program levels (i.e., Program 1, Program 2, and Program 3). The major provisions of this rule include several changes to the accident prevention program requirements, as well as enhancements to the emergency response requirements, and improvements to the public availability of chemical hazard information. Each of these revisions is introduced in the following paragraphs of this section and described in greater detail in sections IV through VI, later in this preamble. Certain revised provisions would apply to a subset of the processes based on program levels described in 40 CFR part 68 (or in one case, to a subset of processes within a program level). A full description of these program levels is provided in section II of this preamble. Read More

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