Thursday, February 20, 2020

EPA targets chemical plant accidents

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently took steps to help prevent accidental releases at chemical facilities and improve emergency response to those chemical releases that do occur.

In cooperation with industry, stakeholders and state and local government officials, the agency amended its Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations to help reduce the number of accidents at RMP facilities.

In the past decade, more than 1,500 such accidents were responsible for nearly 60 deaths and 17,000 people being injured or receiving medical treatment. They also forced the evacuation of a half-million people and caused more than $2 billion in property damages.

“This rule is based on extensive engagement with nearly 1,800 people over the last two and a half years,” Mathy Stanislaus, EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management, said. “These changes are intended to protect the lives of emergency responders and the public, while preserving information security.”

Specifically, the change aims to improve accident prevention program requirements, emergency preparedness, public access to information about RMP facility risks, and third-party audits of those facilities.

The move follows increased efforts to promote chemical safety by the EPA, which have been ongoing since President Obama signed Executive Order (EO) 13650, Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security.

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Environmental Protection Agency Region 7

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