On December 21, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final update to the Risk Management Program, a regulation that deals with on-site storage of chemicals at manufacturing facilities. Manufacturers support measures that ensure chemicals are stored safely. However, today’s update would add burdensome and often duplicative requirements on manufacturers, including new compliance hurdles that will disproportionately hurt small rural businesses, while doing little, if anything, to improve safety.
This is yet another example of this administration rushing out politically charged midnight regulations. From the start, the EPA made it clear it would not alter its planned update to accommodate manufacturers’ concerns. The agency released its proposal without a final SBREFA small business impact report; EPA staff stated clearly in a public meeting that they were not planning to make changes to their proposal based on stakeholder input, and the agency refused all requests for extension of the comment period, refused post-comment period requests to discuss cost data and rushed the review through the Office of Management and Budget as quickly as possible.
The new standards have garnered tremendous concerns among manufacturers and will impact numerous sectors, including pulp and paper, refining, chemical manufacturing and distribution, wholesalers, iron and steel, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, coal products, water treatment, food manufacturing, plastics, cement, auditing and energy producers and utilities. Manufacturers look forward to working with the next president to address the costs and obstacles this regulation will impose.