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The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Risk Management Program (RMP) was amended during the Obama Administration to include a requirement that RMP regulated facilities hold a public meeting after an accidental chemical release. During the Trump Administration, EPA finalized a Reconsideration Rule that modified or rescinded many of the changes made by the Obama Administration. The public meeting requirement was modified to focus on releases with offsite consequences but was otherwise retained in the regulation with an effective date of March 15, 2021. From that date forward, an RMP regulated facility must hold a public meeting within 90 days following a reportable accident that has offsite impacts such as known offsite deaths, injuries, evacuations, sheltering in place, property damage, or environmental damage.
The owner or operator of the facility is required to provide a single notice (at minimum) to members of the public to inform them when and where the meeting will be held. GCCA has confirmed with EPA that a virtual public meeting is acceptable given the current environment due to the pandemic. The public meeting requirement will be enforceable by EPA and could result in monetary penalties and compelling the convening of a public meeting. GCCA members should be aware that any RMP regulated facility that experiences a reportable accident with offsite impacts after March 15, 2021 is required to hold a public meeting within 90 days of the incident. GCCA members are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the RMP regulation and the public meeting requirements.
More information on the RMP rule can be found HERE.