This area contains guidelines, regulations, and
articles pertaining to the
Risk Management Program (RMP).
Flammable Fuel Retailers Exempted
from RMP Rule;
Public Notification Rules Amended
New EPA factsheet provides limited guidance on conducting pubic notification meeting.
Known as the Fuels Regulatory Relief Act, this law signed by President Clinton on August 5, 1999 amends the Clean Air Act (Section 112 (r)) in two key areas. First, it prohibits U.S. EPA from listing a flammable substance when used as a fuel or held for sale as a fuel (such as propane) at a retail facility solely because of its explosive or flammable properties, unless a fire or explosion caused by the substance will result in acute adverse health effects due to human exposure other than those caused by the heat of the fire or impact of the explosion. This portion of the law applies to retail facilities only, and therefore it appears that court actions over the listing of propane, as well as EPA's administrative stay for propane, will still govern many facilities that utilize propane (see below).
The second area affected by the new law is the reporting and dissemination of Offsite Consequence Analysis (OCA) data. The new provisions for OCA data are in response to concerns over making the OCA data freely available over the internet, as initially intended by U.S. EPA, such that it could be utilized for terrorist or other acts. For facilities subject to the RMP regulations, the principle provision of concern is a new requirement that all Program 2 and Program 3 facilities hold a public meeting within the next six months (by February 5, 2000) to share information about the local implications of their RMP, including a summary of the OCA findings. Facilities must notify the FBI by June 5, 2000 that such a meeting has been held. In addition, facilities must notify U.S. EPA if it distributes its OCA data to the public without restrictions.
Major Provisions of The law:
The new law requires every covered facility to:
The law includes criminal penalties of up to $1 million for violating the prohibition on unauthorized disclosure of OCA data. The law also authorizes courts to enforce the public meeting requirements.
Most Propane Facilities Temporarily Exempted from RMP Rule by Court Order; EPA Intends to Exempt all Facilities with Less Than 67,000 pounds
On April 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals granted a stay of the RMP rule as it applies to facilities having more than 10,000 pounds of propane in a process, pending further action by the court. While the Court's stay is in effect, facilities will not have to file RMPs for their propane processes.
This is not a final ruling on the case; the litigation between EPA and
industry continues. The Court is scheduling the case for oral argument early in
its fall 1999 term.
Two important points need to be made: 1) If a process at a facility includes propane as well as other listed chemicals over the threshold, the facility still must report that process and consider the impact of the propane on hazard analysis and accident prevention. "In a process" means one or more tanks (vessels or piping) that are interconnected or located close enough together that a release from one could result in a release from neighboring tanks ( "collocation"). 2) Propane is still an issue for general duty clause compliance.
In addition to the Court's judicial stay, EPA intends to issue an interim administrative stay of the effective date of the RMP rule as it applies to flammable hydrocarbon fuels, including propane, butane, ethane, propylene, and methane (natural gas), stored in quantities no greater than 67,000 pounds (the maximum amount in an 18,000 gallon tank) in a process. EPA will issue a proposed rule shortly and a final rule in the fall to establish this exemption. Based on available information, EPA believes that fuels exempted under this provision would be used in circumstances that do not pose a significant off-site risk. EPA continues to believe that fuels in excess of this threshold present a risk to American communities.
In addition to this judicial action, there have been two recent Congressional initiatives. On April 26, Senator Inhofe introduced a bill to exempt flammable fuels from RMP. On March 25, Congressman Blunt and eight other Representatives introduced a bill (referred to Commerce Committee) to prohibit RMP listing of liquefied petroleum gas (mostly propane).
US EPA Guidance Documents for Preparing RMPs
BES reviewed the guidance document for ammonia refrigeration facilities under contract to the EPA. EPA guidance documents are also available for facilities that use propane, wastewater treatment plants, warehouses, and chemical distributors. The guidance documents can be viewed or downloaded from EPA's CEPPO website.
April, 1998: US EPA Announces Changes To RMP Rule
Changes announced in April, 1998 are incorporated into the most recent
version of the RMP
Regulations (July, 1998). This press
release describes the changes to reflect the new North American
Classification System for industry, clarify how confidential business
information (CBI) should be submitted to the EPA, and identify required and
voluntary data elements. Facilities falling under the RMP will have to
substantiate any CBI submitted in their plan, as well as provide the EPA with
both CBI and non-CBI versions.
Federal RMP Regulations and Data Elements Requirements
For the very latest information on Federal RMP regulations and EPA guidance documents, visit the Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office (CEPPO) web site.
CFR Part 68 (as of July, 1998)
Federal Threshold Quantities
of Regulated Substances and Thresholds for Accidental Release Prevention;
Amendments (signed December 18, 1997, published and effective January 6, 1998)
Proposed Rule: Public Access to OCA Information
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have proposed regulations governing public access to information concerning the potential off-site consequences of accidental releases from industrial facilities. The 1999 Chemical Safety Information, Site Security and Fuels Regulatory Act required the government to assess both the chemical risk reduction benefits of allowing public access to OCA information and the increased risk of terrorist and other criminal activity from posting the information on the Internet. Based on these assessments conducted by EPA and DOJ respectively, the proposed rule would allow public access to the OCA portions of the RMPs in ways that minimize the likelihood of accidents as well as the increased risk of terrorist and criminal activity associated with Internet posting. The proposed rule and assessments are available on the EPA website along with a factsheet on this proposal -Factsheet requires a'pdf' file-type viewer, such as Adobe Acrobat.
California Accidental Release Prevention Program
The California Accidental Release Prevention Program (CalARP) is a merging of the federal and state regulations for the prevention of accidental releases of regulated toxic and flammable substances. For the very latest information on CalARP regulations and a list of Local Administering Agencies, visit the Office of Environmental Services (OES) web site.
CalARP Threshold Quantities
The current list of covered hazardous materials and their threshold quantities. - Requires a 'pdf' file-type viewer, such as Adobe Acrobat.
Environmental Solutions' magazine article "Federal Program for Regulating Highly Hazardous Materials Finally Takes Off" written by BES staff, may be obtained at no charge by calling (800) 682-7255 or email.