Mullin introduces bill to revoke EPA risk management programs rule

US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) introduced Congressional Review Act legislation to revoke the US Environmental Protection Agency’s amended risk management programs rule amendments that became final on Jan. 13 and would go into effect on Mar. 14.

Story updated Feb. 2 with comments from ILTA Pres. Melinda Whitney.

US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) introduced Congressional Review Act legislation to revoke the US Environmental Protection Agency’s amended risk management programs rule amendments that became final on Jan. 13 and would go into effect on Mar. 14.

“Predictably, the Obama administration continued to issue harmful and overreaching regulations until the bitter end. EPA’s RMP rule is no exception,” he said on Feb. 2.

The program is intended to reduce the risk of accidental releases that could affect areas close to manufacturing plants, Mullin said. But EPA exceeded its jurisdictional limits by encroaching on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulated areas and making a rule final that not only fails to enhance safety, but may in fact compromise national security, he contended.

He introduced H.J. Res. 59 soon after the American Petroleum Institute, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, US Chamber of Commerce, and 18 other business groups asked leaders of the 115th Congress to use the CRA to disapprove EPA’s final risk management practices rule covering accidental chemical releases (OGJ Online, Jan. 26, 2017).

“EPA overstepped OSHA with this rule and makes our operating facilities even less safe than they were before,” said Mullin, who is a House Energy and Commerce Committee member. “Sensitive information will be more easily accessible, setting a precedent that even US Department of Homeland Affairs staff have expressed concerns over. With that information in the wrong hands, our nation’s security will absolutely be compromised.”

In a statement, AFPM Pres. Chet Thompson said that the association’s refining and petrochemical manufacturing members consider safety a core value, as evidenced by numerous programs and policies the industry has enacted that exceed regulatory requirements.

“However, the revisions to the RMP rule that EPA rushed out during the waning hours of the Obama administration do not enhance safety, but rather creates security vulnerabilities, and needlessly raise compliance costs,” he said. “For these reasons, we support Rep. Mullin’s proposal, and urge Congress to take immediate steps to disapprove of the revised rule.”

International Liquid Terminals Association Pres. Melinda Whitney also expressed support for the resolution. “EPA’s RMP rule was rushed to the finish line,” she said in a Feb. 2 email to OGJ. “The agency mostly ignored small business concerns and provided inadequate time for public comment on the proposed rule. As a result, the final rule has numerous flaws that could have been addressed in a more deliberative process. Congress should revoke this regulation, and we applaud Rep. Mullin’s leadership in introducing this resolution.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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