Facilities that store chemicals will have more time to comply with on-site safety and storage regulations now that the EPA has agreed to delay and review a chemical safety rule enacted by the Obama administration.
Several industry groups had petitioned the EPA to toss the rule, which updated requirements for industry-prepared risk management plans. The EPA said the new regulations, created in response to a Texas explosion at a fertilizer plant that killed 15 people, will reduce the likelihood of accidental releases at sites that store and use chemicals. The rule is also intended to improve emergency response activities when those releases do occur.
The the American Chemistry Council and the National Association of Manufacturers said the regulations would “add burdensome and often duplicative requirements” on companies across sectors, including including pulp and paper, refining, chemical manufacturing and distribution, wholesalers, iron and steel, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, coal products, water treatment, food manufacturing, plastics, cement, auditing and energy producers and utilities. The trade organizations called on the Trump administration to rollback the rule.
Earlier this week EPA administrator Scott Pruitt signed an administrative stay to delay the effective date of the chemical safety rule until June 19. He said the 90-day extension was in response to industry concerns and will give the agency time to review the rule.
“As an agency, we need to be responsive to concerns raised by stakeholders regarding regulations so facility owners and operators know what is expected of them,” Pruitt said.
Legislation is also working its way through the House and Senate that would overturn the rule and prevent the EPA from issuing a similar one.