On November 20, 2019 the EPA signed the RMP Reconsideration Final Rule which finalizes the proposed changes in the RMP Amendments from January 2017. There was considerable back and forth with the EPA and public comments as well as new EPA Administrators (2) between January 2017 and November 2019. The full history of the RMP rule amendments is documented on the EPA website thoroughly, the below items are the changes that were kept and subject to compliance now and items with future implementation dates. Items rescinded from the 2017 proposed amendment are listed below for reference.
Required Compliance Now:
- Emergency Response Coordination Activities (40 CFR 68.93) – “The owner or operator of a stationary source shall coordinate response needs with local emergency planning and response organizations to determine how the stationary source is addressed in the community emergency response plan and to ensure that local response organizations are aware of the regulated substances at the stationary source, their quantities, the risks presented by covered processes, and the resources and capabilities at the stationary source to respond to an accidental release of a regulated substance.” (effective Sept 21, 2018)
- (a) Coordination is required annually.
- (b) Coordination includes providing the facility Response or Action plan to the local emergency planning and response organizations and discussion on planning tabletop and field exercise scheduling to comply with 40 CFR 68.96(b) the facility responds.
- (c) Required documentation of above coordination.
- (d) Classified or restricted information disclosure
- *NOTE: the above items under 40 CFR 68.93 will now be fields for entry on your next RMP resubmittal or initial submittal.
Future Compliance Implementation:
- Emergency Response Exercises (40 CFR 68.96)
- (a) Notification Exercises – At least annually the facility must perform an exercise or test of “emergency response notification mechanisms” to report a release to local emergency planning and response organizations before December 21, 2024 and annually after.
- (b) Emergency Response Exercise Program – “The owner or operator of a stationary source subject to the requirements of §68.95 shall develop and implement an exercise program for its emergency response program, including the plan required under §68.95(a)(1). Exercises shall involve facility emergency response personnel and, as appropriate, emergency response contractors. When planning emergency response field and tabletop exercises, the owner or operator shall coordinate with local public emergency response officials and invite them to participate in the exercise. The emergency response exercise program shall include: “ (Plan for conducting emergency response exercises required by December 19, 2023)
- (1) Field exercises – (i) The facility shall coordinate with local emergency response officials on the frequency of field exercises(noted above in 68.93(b)); (ii) The field exercise shall involve testing of the facilities emergency response plan (response team deployment with PPE/equipment, test notifications to the public and applicable federal/state/local emergency response agencies, evacuations/emergency actions, and any other action identified in the emergency response program, as appropriate).
- (2) Tabletop exercises – (i) The facility shall coordinate with local emergency response officials on the frequency of field exercises(noted above in 68.93(b)) and shall conduct an exercise before December 21, 2026 and at least every three years after; (ii) The tabletop exercise shall involve discussions of the facilities full emergency response plan.
- (3) Documentation – A report shall be prepared within 90 days of each tabletop or field exercise and should include: scenario description discussed, personnel involved, an evaluation of the response exercise, recommendations for improvement and a schedule to address and resolve the recommendations.
- (c) Alternative means of meeting exercise requirements – The facility can satisfy the above exercise requirements if they are required to conduct them for other agencies provided items in (a) and (b) are covered or when the facility completes a report after an actual accidental release response similar to 68.96(c) above.
- *NOTE: the above items under 40 CFR 68.96 will now be fields for entry on your next RMP resubmittal or initial submittal.
- Availability of information to the public (40 CFR 68.210)
- (b) The owner or operator of a covered facility shall hold a public meeting no later than 90 days after an RMP reportable release with offsite consequences (injuries, death, evacuations, shelter-in-place, property damage or environmental damage)to provide the following information: date/time/duration of release, chemical released, estimated quantity released, process NAICS code, type or release and source, weather conditions during release, on-site impacts, known off-site impacts, initiating event and contributing factors, if offsite responders were notified, and operational/process changes resulting from the incident investigation and status of changes at the time of the meeting. (required for releases occurring after March 15, 2021)
- *NOTE: the above items under 40 CFR 68.210 will now be a field for entry on your next RMP resubmittal or initial submittal.
Rescinded items from the proposed 2017 RMP amendment:
- Third Party Audit requirements – RESCINDED
- Though EPA retains authority to require third party audits under certain circumstances.
- Safer Technology Alternatives Analysis – RESCINDED
- Incident Investigation Root Cause Analysis – RESCINDED
- Facility Chemical Hazard Information – RESCINDED