On February 2, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) introduced H.R. Res. 59, a bill that would repeal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) modifications to the Risk Management Program (RMP). H.J.Res. 59 uses the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal EPA’s rule on Accidental Release Prevention Requirements for Risk Management Programs under the Clean Air Act.
CRA allows Congress to abolish any federal regulation finalized on or after June 13, 2016 by a simple majority vote in both chambers. It also prohibits federal agencies from reissuing the same regulation, or one of similar nature, in the future. CRA cannot be used for rules that were finalized prior to June 13, 2016.
EPA’s revisions amend the agency’s RMP, which was instituted in 1990, to improve emergency response planning in and around facilities that use hazardous chemicals. Approximately 11,900 facilities would be impacted by the new rule, including counties that own and operate water and wastewater treatment plants and/or plan emergency response activities at the local level. In a recent blog post, NACo highlighted several significant changes in the rule relevant to counties, on root cause analysis, third party compliance audits, coordination with emergency response agencies and information-sharing with the public.
EPA’s RMP revisions were finalized on January 13 and was set to go into effect on March 14. However, after the Trump Administration issued a January 20 memo to delay all pending regulations, implementation of the rule was delayed a week, until March 21, 2017.
In a December 2016 letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget, NACo and its local government partners expressed serious concerns with the proposed rule. Some of those concerns were addressed in the final rule, and NACo will continue to monitor the implementation of EPA’s amended RMP rule and other regulatory actions to ensure that the county voice is heard and the priorities of America’s counties reflected.
While Congress is using more CRA-related bills to address Obama Administration regulations, the outcome of this bill remains uncertain. Since CRA requires action within 60 legislative days after the start of a new Congress, the clock is rapidly ticking.
Contact: Julie Ufner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.942.4269