EPA Stays RMP Rule Amendments and Grants Petition for Reconsideration

by Beveridge & Diamond PC

Beveridge & Diamond PC

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stayed the implementation of a significant revision of the Risk Management Program (RMP) rule pending the receipt of additional comments. Simultaneously, EPA has granted a request for a motion for reconsideration filed by several trade associations whose industry members would be affected by the rule changes, setting up the possibility that EPA will significantly amend the rule or rescind the rule amendment package.

The RMP rule imposes risk reduction and process management requirements on a wide array of industrial facilities that use or store chemicals. The rule includes a mixture of traditional EPA regulatory provisions and process safety management requirements from the rules adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and it is therefore an unusual hybrid, containing both environmental and health and safety program elements. In recent years, EPA has substantially stepped up its enforcement of these requirements. 

As we discussed in a summary piece published in early January (click here to review), at the very end of the Obama Administration, EPA published a significant collection of revisions to the RMP rule, adopting program changes that included new requirements such as requiring many facilities to conduct root cause analyses following catastrophic releases, independent third-party audits following RMP reportable accidents, for a subset of industries safer technology and alternatives analyses as part of their five-year process hazard analyses, and enhanced emergency response activities. 

The amendment package was published in the Federal Register on January 13, 2017 and was scheduled to become effective sixty days thereafter, which would have been March 14, 2017. In the week after the Trump administration assumed office, EPA published a final rule extending the effective date of the amendments to March 21, 2017 in response to a January 20, 2017 memorandum from Reince Priebus, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, directing agencies to temporarily postpone the effective dates of any rule that had been published in the Federal Register but had not yet taken effect within 60 days. Subsequently, Scott Pruitt was confirmed as EPA Administrator, and a coalition of trade associations representing a wide array of industries subject to the rule filed a petition for reconsideration of the rule package. 

On March 13, one day before the original effective date of the amendments, Administrator Pruitt signed an administrative stay of the rule that delays the effective date until June 19, 2017, for the announced purposes of deciding whether to further delay the effective date and allowing reconsideration of the rule in light of the industry petition. On the same day, Administrator Pruitt issued a letter granting the pending motion for reconsideration of the rule, on the grounds that the petition had raised one or more objections that arose after the comment period for the rulemaking or that were impracticable to raise during the comment period and are of central relevance to the rule. 

In his letter granting the petition, the Administrator highlighted that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives issued a determination two days prior to the close of the comment period on the proposed rule in 2016, finding that a fire and explosion at the West, Texas fertilizer facility was the result of an intentional and criminal act, and not an accident as had been previously assumed, and that the timing made it impracticable for many commenters to meaningfully address this finding. The incident in West, Texas has previously been cited by EPA as the catalyst for the rule changes. 

The stay of the rule affects thousands of RMP facilities that were subject to the revised provisions. 

The effect of this administrative action may delay or end Congressional efforts to repeal the rule under the Congressional Review Act. A resolution to disapprove the rule, H.J. Res. 59, was introduced in the House of Representatives on February 1, 2017. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Beveridge & Diamond PC | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Beveridge & Diamond PC

Beveridge & Diamond PC on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.