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Manufacturers Want Risk Management Program Tossed, Calling it Duplicative and Burdensome

Manufacturers want an Obama era rule on risk assessment tossed under the Congressional Review Act that allows lawmakers to take such action for those laws enacted during the waning days of the administration, says the National Association of Manufacturers, and others.

Indeed, companies will become increasingly accustomed to the Congressional Review Act, which has been rarely used in the past but something that will get used more frequently by the Trump administration and the Congress. First up: the Stream Protection Rule, finalized by the Department of Interior in December that impacts coal waste and water protections.

Specifically, manufacturers state in a January 2017 letter — National Association of Manufacturers, the US Chamber of Commerce, American Forest and Paper Association and the American Iron and Steel Institute — that the EPA’s Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs under the Clean Air Act (RMP rule) needs to be reviewed.

The National Association of Manufacturers has long expressed concerns about the final approach to this rule, which it says creates burdens without significant benefits.

“The safety and security of facilities, employees, and communities are paramount to the Associations and their members,” says in congressional testimony. ” The Associations’ members prudently engage in risk management planning, invest in security, and believe that fostering a continued partnership between businesses and federal, state, and local officials is fundamental to ensuring facility safety now and in the future. The Associations observe that certain aspects of the Risk Management Program (RMP) align with industry efforts to achieve these goals.”

The concerns: 

*First, the Associations are concerned that the proposed revisions to the RMP program will overlap and conflict with other federal programs designed to promote safety and security, meaning that EPA’s proposal will be duplicative and add regulatory burdens—and likely inconsistencies—with no additional benefits.

• Second, the numerous inadequacies of a prescriptive “inherently safer technology” (“IST”) analysis have been well documented in response to similar proposals from other federal agencies and are not any more suitable under the RMP program.

• Third, EPA’s proposed disclosure requirements raise concerns related to sensitive business and security data.

• Fourth, EPA’s proposal to require third-party audits is infeasible in certain circumstances due to the high costs and the lack of availability of third-party auditors, which have not been shown to provide any improvements in safety in comparison to self-audits. They are likely to introduce unnecessary complexity, burden, and hardship that are not justified.

• Fifth, as EPA itself acknowledges, the monetized costs of the proposed rule are likely to exceed the monetized benefits. An appropriate cost-benefit analysis would further underscore how costly the rule would be in comparison to its benefits.

The manufacturers’ main point is that the EPA must conduct cost-benefit analyses of the rules it enacts to ensure that they are worth the benefits to be created. This is a point of view that the current Trump administration is sympathetic toward and one that the courts have been sensitive to as well.

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