The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was recently urged to focus on preventing chemical disasters to ensure fenceline communities, workers, and the general public are safe from harm. In a letter signed by Turtle Island Restoration Network, along with 100 other organizations and groups, asked the EPA to strengthen their final rule on their Risk Management Program (RMP) regulation.
The highlighted asks of the letter included:
- Climate-related prevention and safety measures to protect communities and workers from the double threat of chemical disasters hurricanes, floods, and other “natech” incidents where there is a domino effect of natural and technological disasters
- Stronger disaster prevention measures, e.g., identification and use of available, inherently safer methods that can eliminate or reduce catastrophic hazards altogether
- Common-sense emergency response and incident management measures
- Strengthening enforceability, corrective action, and accountability, including necessary information access in multiple languages
- Strengthening worker participation
- Expanding coverage of the RMP program to more facilities, processes and chemicals
Communities, workers, and frontline responders are affected heavily by chemical disasters, and the RMP being improved is of high importance to protect these groups. Hazard reduction to prevent chemical disasters helps the EPA to deliver on their agency’s promises on environmental justice, worker safety, and climate change.