By R. Lee Vail, P.E., Ph.D.

On December 3, 2018, the EPA published a final rule in the Federal Register (83 FR 62268) making the 2017 amendments effected as of that day.  In doing so, the EPA noted that it had no discretion in the matter as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Court issued its decision vacating the 2017 Delay Rule and later issued its mandate which made the RMP Amendments now effective.  EPA further saw no good cause to open rulemaking to accept comments or delay effectiveness for another 30 days.

Many of the requirements in the amended rule contained future compliance dates (beyond 2018) and therefore this action has no effect on them.  However several requirements are now effective including:

  • Tri-annual audits cover each process units;
  • Supervisor training requirements;
  • Emergency response coordination requirements;
  • Incident investigation report and scope (i.e., near miss) revisions other than “root cause analysis provisions in §§68.60(d)(7) and 68.81(d)(7) which go into effect in 2021; and
  • Emergency Response Plan updates where appropriate.

Whereas the proposed Reconsideration Rule could roll all this back, these provisions are now in effect.