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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed further delaying the effective date of changes to its Risk Management Program rules until February 2019.
The agency wants to again delay the effective date of the final rule that amends the Risk Management Program regulations under the Clean Air Act published in the Federal Register on Jan. 13, after previously delaying the effective date to June 19.
The amendments, which were adopted in response to the West, Texas, fertilizer disaster that killed 15 people in April 2013, would mandate certain actions at chemical facilities designated as having a higher risk of accidental releases.
The West disaster prompted then-President Barack Obama to issue an executive order in August 2013 to several agencies, including the EPA, to strengthen the Risk Management Program to improve safety and security at these facilities. But the EPA under the Trump administration has proposed the delay to reconsider the final rule, which could lead to the agency proposing and finalizing a regulation to revise the amendments, according to a notice published in the Federal Register on Monday.
“This timeframe would allow the EPA time to evaluate the objections raised by the various petitions for reconsideration of the Risk Management Program amendments, consider other issues that may benefit from additional comment and take further regulatory action,” the agency said. “While it is possible that we may require less time to complete the reconsideration and any possible regulatory actions, we believe extending the effective date to Feb. 19, 2019 is reasonable and prudent.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a rule Wednesday amending its risk management program regulations aimed at preventing accidental releases at chemical facilities such as the West, Texas, fertilizer disaster and improving emergency response activities when those releases occur.