Earlier this week the Environmental Protection Agency’s request for information (RFI) for potential improvements to their Risk Management Program (RMP) was published in the Federal Register (79 FR 44603-44633). The lengthy document marks the official beginning of the process to revise the RMP regulations. It was initiated as part of the response of the EPA to President Obama’s Executive order on Improving the Safety and Security of Chemical Facilities (EO 13650).
The RMP-RFI identifies various areas of the RMP program that might be changed in the rulemaking process. At this point in the rulemaking process EPA has not identified any specific rule changes. Rather it has identified a number of areas of potential change along with a brief look at some of the alternatives that might be considered as part of the rulemaking process. It is seeking to establish a more form dialog with the public and the regulated community about how these potential changes could be most effectively implanted.
OSHA RFI Overlap
OSHA was required to publish their RFI for their chemical safety program, the Process Safety Management (PSM) program, much earlier in the EO 13650 process. Since both of these regulatory programs look at chemical safety issues (EPA from a protection of the community perspective and OSHA from a protection of the worker point of view) there is a certain amount of overlap in the two programs. This means that there will likely be overlaps in the program improvement process as well.
The EPA document identifies seven areas where responses to the OSHA RFI may be applicable to future changes in the RMP program. They include:
• Define and Require Evaluation of Updates to Applicable Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices;
RMP Specific Areas of Interest
In addition to these seven areas that are at least partially addressed in the earlier OSHA PSM-RFI, there are eleven areas where EPA is seeking public and industry input on potential changes to the RMP regulations. They are:
• Worst Case Release Scenario Quantity Requirements for Processes Involving Numerous Small Vessels Stored Together;
• Public Disclosure of Information To Promote Regulatory Compliance and Improve Community Understanding of Chemical Risks;
• Threshold Quantities and Off-Site Consequence Analysis Endpoints for Regulated Substances Based on Acute Exposure Guideline Level Toxicity Values;