September 26, 2014

The Honorable Mathy Stanislaus,
Assistant Administrator
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460-0001

RE: Request EPA Use Federal Advisory Committee Structure to Fully Review Potential Revisions to the Risk Management Program Regulations and Related Programs and Make Any Necessary Technical Recommendations (Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OEM- 2014-0328; FRL–9911–62–OSWER)

Dear Assistant Administrator Stanislaus,

We are writing to request the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) utilize an existing federal advisory committee to provide the Office of Emergency Management with industry stakeholder advice and counsel on scientific and technical aspects of the Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 112(r): Accidental Release Prevention/Risk Management Program (RMP) Regulations. The FACA committee or new subcommittee would be established to fully examine the RMP regulations and report back any specific recommended changes, if needed, to EPA officials.

On July 31, 2014 the EPA published a Federal Register Request for Information (RFI) on Potential Revisions to the RMP regulations with only a 90-day comment deadline. The EPA requests input on 19 topics, covering more than 100 options, and over 380 questions. Topics range from expanding the list of covered substances, adding a number of new program requirements, mandating an inherently safer technology (IST) analysis, and numerous other proposals to further expand the program. For all of these topics, EPA is seeking detailed financial data regarding costs and economic impacts on industry. We believe the current 90-day timeframe is woefully inadequate to fully address these major questions/issues that could lead to fundamental changes in the RMP regulations. We therefore respectfully request an additional 90-day extension of the comment period or other reasonable period of time to coincide with the work of the FACA committee.

Federal advisory committees have been utilized by EPA and other federal agencies to generate expert advice and recommendations. The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA)1 requires that the advice provided by these committees be objective and accessible to the public.2 The EPA has an existing Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC)3 that was established “to advise the U.S. EPA on issues related to implementing the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.” The EPA CAAAC has a number of Subcommittees and Work Groups. One of the inactive groups listed is the “Accident Prevention Subcommittee”4, which was created to provide industry stakeholder advice and counsel on scientific and technical aspects of the Clean Air Act Section 112(r). We recommend re-activating this subcommittee and task it to fully vet the numerous issues raised in the RMP RFI in a forum open to public viewing. If EPA proceeds forward through this type of consensus building process it will help ensure fair and balanced points of views will be represented by industry and other key stakeholders and prevent inappropriate influence from any special interests. In addition, a more deliberative review of the RMP regulations will also ensure transparent and open debate takes place on whether any major or minor revisions to this federal program are necessary. In a memorandum issued by President Barack Obama to all heads of Executive Departments and Agencies entitled “Transparency and Open Government” he states the following:

My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.”5

Utilizing a federal advisory committee to review and discuss the issues raised in the EPA’s RFI on potential revisions to the RMP regulations is consistent with President Obama’s Open Government Directive. If the EPA decides to move forward with arbitrary deadlines in an effort to finalize pre-determined decisions to expand regulations for the RMP program whether they are necessary or not would be inconsistent with the Administration’s stated goal of a transparent, participatory, and collaborative government.

Thank you for your review and consideration of this request. We look forward to continue working closely with you and other senior EPA officials on this important matter.


Agricultural Retailers Association
American Coatings Association
Compressed Gas Association
Council of Producers & Distributors of Agrotechnology
Institute of Makers of Explosives
International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration
International Liquid Terminals Association
National Grain & Feed Association
The Fertilizer Institute

P.L. 92-463
Congressional Research Service: Federal Advisory Committees: An Overview, April 16, 2009.