On July 24, Attorneys General from 11 states (Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington) signed and filed a lawsuit that claims U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s proposed two-year delay of the Accidental Release Prevention Requirements for Risk Management Programs (the Chemical Accident Safety Rule) is illegal because it exceeds EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act.
The rule was finalized by the Obama administration on January 13, updating the 1990s “Risk Management Plan” regulatory amendments to the CAA. The lawsuit claims the amended Chemical Accident Safety Rule would make critical safeguard improvements to protections against explosions, fires, poisonous gas releases, and other accidents at more than 12,000 facilities across the country that store and use toxic chemicals.
Despite the agency’s delay, EPA published a June 2017 fact sheet highlighting the benefits of the rule. The delay will extend to 2020 the date by which chemical facilities must comply with the rule’s emergency response requirements, and to the 2023 the date by which they must meet its accident prevention program and public information disclosure requirements. [Longsworth]