EPA Rolls Back Obama-era Chemical Safety Requirements
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on November 21 reversed key portions of a chemical safety rule implemented by the Obama administration. The Trump administration's final Risk Management Program rule frees companies from mitigation and safety preparation, and it no longer requires the owners of chemical plants, refineries and other industrial facilities to publicly release data on the chemicals they store on site.
EPA said the previous rule was overbroad and imposed too high a burden on industry to justify its cost. Owners of affected facilities will no longer need to regularly look for new technologies to improve chemical safety, which by itself will save industry $70 million a year, EPA estimated. The agency also rescinded requirements that companies pay for third-party compliance audits following incidents and that investigators determine the "root cause" of an accident or a near-miss incident, a provision meant to identify systemic failures, saving industry an expected $9.8 million and $1.8 million per year, respectively.