Changes Proposed to Chemical Risk Program
After review, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed amendments to its Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations.
Specifically, the changes and amplifications will affect programs under the Clean Air Act; Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention.
Risk Management Background
Per Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act Amendments, the EPA is required to publish regulations and guidance for chemical accident prevention at facilities using certain hazardous materials. These same regulations and guidance are contained in the RMP rule.
As part of the current rule, facilities using these hazardous substances are required to develop a Risk Management Plan that is then revised and resubmitted to the EPA every five years. These plans are required to address the following:
Additionally, the plans also provide information to local fire, police and emergency response personnel to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies in their community.
According to reports, however, some of the RMP amendments made in 2017 were scaled back while former President Donald J. Trump was in office.
As outlined in the summary, the proposed revisions include several changes and amplifications to the accident prevention program requirements, enhancements to the emergency preparedness requirements, increased public availability of chemical hazard information, and several other changes to certain regulatory definitions or points of clarification.
Proposed updates to the RMP include, but are not limited to, the following:
The EPA will be hosting three consecutive virtual public hearings on the proposal at the end of the month, with the first taking place on Sept. 26. The hearings can be accessed here.
The EPA will also be accepting comments on the proposal, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-2022-0174, until Oct. 31.
Additional Chemical News
Earlier this year, in March, the EPA announced a new research program under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) with the goal of modernizing the process and bringing innovative science to the review of new chemicals before they enter the market.
According to the EPA at the time, the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) was proposing the development and implementation of a multi-year collaborative research program in partnership with the Agency’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) and other federal entities focused on approaches for performing risk assessments on new chemical substances under TSCA.
Through the partnership, the program aims to bring innovative science to new chemical reviews, modernize the approaches used and increase the transparency of the human health and ecological risk assessment process.
The multi-year research program will refine existing approaches and develop and implement new approach methodologies (NAMs) to ensure the best available science is used in TSCA new chemical evaluations.
Key areas proposed in the TSCA New Chemicals Collaborative Research Program include:
The EPA hosted a virtual public meeting on April 20 and April 21 to provide an overview of the TSCA New Chemicals Collaborative Research Program. The meeting provided individual stakeholders time to share their input on the program.
Later this year, the EPA plans to release a revised version of the collaborative research plan for an additional public comment period and peer review by the Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC).