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January 14, 2017

EPA Issues Final RMP Rule and Other Recent CAA Developments

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

EPA Issues Final RMP Rule: On January 13, 2017, EPA published in the Federal Register its final rule amending the Accidental Release Prevention Requirements for Risk Management Programs (RMP) under Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 112(r)(7). 82 Fed. Reg. 4594. The amendments are intended to modernize EPA’s RMP regulations as required under Executive Order (EO) 13650, which directs the federal government to carry out certain tasks intended to prevent chemical incidents, such as the explosion in West, Texas, on April 17, 2013. Specifically, the amendments are intended to address and improve accident prevention program elements; enhance the emergency preparedness requirements; and ensure Local Emergency Planning Committees, local emergency response officials, and the public can access information in a user-friendly format to help them understand the risks at RMP facilities and better prepare for emergencies. The rule is effective March 14, 2017.

EPA Proposes To Regulate N-Propyl Bromide As A Hazardous Air Pollutant Under The CAA: EPA on January 9, 2017, issued a proposed rule to add n-propyl bromide (nPB), also known as 1-bromopropane (1-BP) (Chemical Abstract Service No. 106-94-5), to the list of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) regulated under the CAA. 82 Fed. Reg. 2354. The Halogenated Solvents Industry Alliance (HSIA) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) submitted petitions requesting that EPA add nPB to the list of HAPs. Based on EPA’s evaluation of HSIA’s and NYSDEC’s data and information concerning potential hazards, emissions, and atmospheric dispersion modeling that provided estimates of ambient concentrations of nPB, EPA has determined adequate evidence exists supporting a determination that emissions and ambient concentrations of nPB may reasonably be anticipated to cause adverse health effects. The comment period on the proposed addition of nPB to the HAPs list closes on March 10, 2017.

EPA Denies Petition To Reconsider Endangerment Finding For Aircraft Emissions: EPA on December 30, 2016, denied a petition to reconsider its finding that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from certain aircraft engines endanger public health and welfare. 81 Fed. Reg. 96413. EPA on July 25, 2016, issued its “Finding that Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Aircraft Cause or Contribute to Air Pollution that May Reasonably Be Anticipated to Endanger Public Health and Welfare.” That action included two findings under CAA Section 231(a)(2)(A): (1) concentrations of six well-mixed GHGs in the atmosphere endanger the public health and welfare of current and future generations (the endangerment finding); and (2) GHGs emitted from certain classes of engines used in certain aircraft are contributing to the air pollution that endangers public health and welfare (the cause or contribute finding, or contribution finding). The Biogenic CO2 Coalition submitted a petition on October 14, 2016, asking EPA to reconsider the finding with respect to EPA’s treatment of biogenic carbon dioxide emissions from short-cycle annual herbaceous crops. EPA states that it “carefully reviewed the petition for reconsideration and evaluated all the information presented on the issues raised, along with information contained in the docket for the 2016 Findings, in reaching a decision on the petition.” EPA concluded, however, that the petition does not meet the criteria for reconsideration in CAA Section 307(d)(7)(B). EPA consequently denied the petition for reconsideration.