New Administrative Petitions for Reconsideration on the RMP Reconsideration Rule: What Does It Mean for Process Safety?

On February 18, 2020, a group of states and a national trade union filed separate petitions seeking administrative reconsideration of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA or Agency) recently finalized Clean Air Act Risk Management Plan (RMP) reconsideration rule (the Reconsideration Rule). The Reconsideration Rule became effective on December 19, 2019, and rescinds numerous provisions of the Obama administration’s January 2017 amendments to EPA’s RMP regulations under the Clean Air Act (the Amendments).

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EPA Announces Intent to Regulate PFOA and PFOS Chemicals in Drinking Water

On February 20, 2020, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued preliminary determinations to regulate two perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) compounds in drinking water: perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). In its announcement, the agency noted that it is also gathering and evaluating information to determine if regulation is appropriate for other chemicals in the PFAS family.

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California Lowers PFOA and PFOS Response Levels

State governments continue to move ahead with increased regulation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS)-related compounds, including recent significant steps by California. On February 6, 2020, California’s State Water Resources Control Board announced that it would reduce response levels (RLs) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in drinking water to 10 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 40 ppt for PFOS.

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Chemical Safety Board Establishes New Accidental Release Reporting Requirements

On February 3, 2020, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) released a prepublication version of a final rule establishing new requirements for owners and operators of stationary sources to report accidental releases of regulated substances or other “extremely hazardous substance[s]” into the ambient air within eight hours of such release.

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EPA Standardizes Process to Petition for Objecting to Title V Air Permits

On February 5, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule in the Federal Register to streamline the process to petition the agency to object to state-issued Clean Air Act Title V air permits. The rule changes petition content and format requirements to describe the information a petition needs to include in order for EPA to review a claim of permit or permit process deficiency. With this rule, EPA also requires delegated state permitting authorities to respond in writing to “significant” comments while permitting authorities determine the significance of comments. Pursuant to the revised regulation, state permitting authorities must also submit to EPA a “statement of basis” that describes the legal and factual basis for the permit terms and conditions to be available during the public comment period and the agency’s 45-day review period.

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