EPA Compliance Initiative – National Enforcement of Reducing Accidents
The goal of EPA’s initiative is to reduce the risk to human health and the environment by decreasing the likelihood of chemical accidents. A successful initiative would reduce communities’ risk by having regulated facilities and industry associations work to:
- improve safety;
- increase compliance with risk management plan and GDC requirements; and
- promote coordination and communication with state and local responders and communities.
In 2022, the agency continued its efforts to reduce risks of accidental releases at industrial and chemical facilities, such as:
- Concluded 3 judicial actions, 145 administrative penalty actions, and 18 administrative compliance orders.
EPA has addressed serious violations through enforcement actions. Examples of concluded enforcement actions in FY 2022 include the following:
- Concluded 2 judicial actions and 113 administrative penalty actions, close to the prior year’s 117 actions.
Thousands of facilities nationwide, many of which are in communities with environmental justice concerns, make, use, and store extremely hazardous substances. Catastrophic accidents at these facilities—historically about 150 each year—can result in fatalities and serious injuries, evacuations, and other harm to human health and the environment. These facilities are regulated under Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 112(r) through the chemical accident prevention regulations, also known as the Risk Management Program (RMP). The regulations apply to stationary sources that have a listed chemical in a process at or above an established threshold quantity. A broader statutory obligation under CAA § 112(r)(1), the General Duty Clause (GDC), applies to all stationary sources with regulated substances or other extremely hazardous substances, regardless of the quantity of chemical involved. The GDC requires facilities to identify hazards that may result from accidental releases by using appropriate hazard assessment techniques, designing and maintaining a safe facility, taking such steps as are necessary to prevent releases, and minimizing the consequences of those accidental releases that do occur. Facilities regulated under CAA § 112(r) are found in every state. EPA has found that many regulated facilities still are not adequately managing the risks they pose or ensuring the safety of their facilities to protect surrounding communities