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EPA Proposes Delaying Changes to Risk Management Plan

Apr 06, 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday proposed a delay for implementing changes to its Risk Management Plan (RMP), which aims to prevent the accidental release of hazardous chemicals. For dairy companies, this rule regulates anhydrous ammonia, the most commonly used chemical in industrial refrigeration systems, and chlorine, a chemical used in the wastewater treatment process.

Currently, changes to the rule are set to go into effect June 19 of this year, after being held for three months in a regulatory freeze issued by the Trump Administration. The proposal suggests moving the compliance date to Feb. 19, 2019.

EPA said it asked for the additional delay to allow for more time to consider petitions and to consider revising the program’s amendments. The changes currently require:

  • Root-cause analyses during incident investigations;
  • Third-party lead compliance audits;
  • Periodic emergency response drills and exercises at facilities with local emergency responder involvement; and
  • Information about chemical hazards to be provided to the public and local emergency responders upon request.

Last year, IDFA participated in panel discussions and submitted comments to EPA stressing that these changes could have a negative impact on the dairy industry without supporting the goals and purposes of the rule. IDFA plans to submit comments on EPA’s proposal to delay the changes by the May 19 deadline.

“While this request for comment is limited to just the proposed delay, we think giving EPA more time for contemplation will allow the agency to consider changes to the RMP regulations that address the dairy industry’s concerns while still being protective of the environment and communities,” said Emily Lyons, IDFA director of regulatory affairs and counsel.

IDFA’s comments suggested several areas for revision: 

  • The definition for catastrophic release should not be expanded to include onsite injuries from chemical accidents because the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Process Safety Management (PSM) regulation already protects workers;
  • Root-cause analyses should be limited to reportable accidents;
  • Criteria for third-party audits are far too restrictive and will limit the ability of dairy companies to find qualified auditors;
  • Delegation of EPA’s authority to local emergency planning committees to require facilities to create emergency response plans is unlawful;
  • Emergency response drill reports should be limited in scope and detail; and
  • The public disclosure requirements are excessive and would compromise a facility’s security rather than protect it.

Read the full announcement, “Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs Under the Clean Air Act; Further Delay of Effective Date.” 

Members with questions may contact Emily Lyons, IDFA director of regulatory affairs and counsel, at

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