Ammonia Refrigeration – EPA’s RMP & Executive Order 13990

Ammonia refrigeration facilities get ready, EPA’s RMP is up for change once again.  Just a few days ago we here that OSHA is planning on moving forward with the opportunity to update the PSM standard, and now today we hear that EPA is moving forward with the Biden executive order 13390 to update the RMP laws.  We just recently went through the political changes that reflected over 100 new requirements under 40CFR68 (RMP) law and then seen 1/2 of those reversed by the Trump administration, and now to change again. 

Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis 13390

EPA has responded and below are some of the highlights of the proposed change. 

  • Providing greater protections for communities living near RMP facilities, many of which are underserved and overburdened by pollution. 
  • Emphasizing the requirement for regulated facilities to evaluate risks of natural hazards and climate change, including any associated loss of power.
  • Promoting environmental justice through increased availability of information for fenceline communities in their requested language.
  • Requiring safer technologies and alternatives analysis for certain facilities with high accident rates.
  • Advancing greater employee participation and opportunity for decision-making in facility accident prevention requirements.
  • Requiring third party audits for facilities with a bad track record of accidents. 
  • Enhancing facility planning and preparedness efforts.

It is to wonder if some or all of the original changes in 2017 come back to fruition. Looking at EPA’s proposed rule, it looks like all of it, and more is coming our way. Most of all the proposed requirements a good PSM program following best practices from associations such as CCPS will be leading the way. However, many still are having a hard time meeting compliance with the first RMP rule published in 1994.   We encourage you and your companies let your voices be heard and give comment to the rule making process. EPA will engage stakeholders involved in this rulemaking during a robust public comment period. The public may comment on the proposed rule at (Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-2022-0174) until 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. EPA is also holding three virtual public hearings on the proposed rule on September 26, 27, and 28, 2022.

We will be sure to give our comments and follow this closely.  Stay up to date with PSM/RMP training dates and locations at this link.