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Image of the Texas Chemical Plant that Exploded, Killing 15
Texas Chemical Plant that Exploded, Killing 15; Image Courtesy of Mark Wingard, http://www.csb.gov/

The Trump administration seems to be delaying a lot of Obama-era things lately. Not only has the FDA decided to delay an Obama-era rule that would require manufacturers to “update nutritional facts labels on processed foods,” a move the agency claims is necessary because “manufacturers need additional time beyond the July 26, 2018, compliance date to complete and print new labels for their products,” but now the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to delay a “chemical safety rule for nearly two years while it reassesses the necessity of the regulation.”

The decision was announced earlier this week on Monday, and informed the public that “Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a directive last Friday delaying the chemical plant safety standards until at least Feb. 20, 2019.” When questioned why the delay is being implemented, Pruitt issued a statement saying:

“We are seeking additional time to review the program so that we can fully evaluate the public comments raised by multiple petitioners and consider other issues that may benefit from additional public input.”

Image of a EPA Logo
EPA Logo; Image Courtesy of PennLive.com

But what exactly is the safety rule, and what will it do when and if it’s implemented? Well, the rule would beef “up safety standards at chemical production plants” and would call for “new emergency requirements for manufacturers regulated by the EPA.” 

It was finalized back in December by Obama regulators, and was first thought of after an explosion in 2013 “at a chemical plant in Texas killed 15 people.” Basically, the new safety rule would “require companies to better prepare for accidents and expand the EPA’s investigative and auditing powers.

This isn’t the first time the particular regulation has been delayed, though. It was also delayed back in March “amid discussions over the rule’s impact on businesses.” In fact, shortly after Pruitt was confirmed back in February, many chemical companies wrote to him, arguing that the new chemical safety rule would raise “significant security concerns and compliance issues that will cause irreparable harm.” 

As a result, the EPA opened the issue up to the public in March and introduced a proposal to delay the rule so that they could consider any objections to the rule. During the time that it was opened to the public, the agency “received 54,117 comments before Pruitt formally moved to delay the rule.”

When it was delayed in March, Pruitt said: “as an agency, we need to be responsive to concerns raised by stakeholders regarding regulations so facility owners and operators know what is expected of them.”

Sources:

EPA delays chemical safety rule until 2019

EPA chief delays industrial chemical safety regulation

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