Thursday, July 12, 2018

Public Comment Opportunity: Tell the EPA to Safeguard the Chemical Disaster Rule

Speak up now to prevent chemical disasters.

Proposed changes to the Chemical Disaster Rule benefit industry while sacrificing the health and safety of communities, first responders, and workers. Tell the EPA that rolling back these protections is unacceptable.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to gut the Chemical Disaster Rule that UCS supporters like you helped strengthen. Proposed amendments to the Risk Management Plan (RMP) put millions of people—particularly vulnerable populations of low-income communities and communities of color who more often live near chemical facilities—in danger.

Now, Science Champions like you have an opportunity to tell the EPA that rolling back the chemical disaster protections is unacceptable, and we've created a guide to help you do just that.

According to Yvette Arellano of the Texas Environmental Advocacy Services (TEJAS), an organization that advocates for impacted communities in Houston, "Our communities never know which incident requires evacuation or sheltering in place. They live in constant fear of releases or incidents while their children are playing outside. People deserve the right to know the information necessary to make informed decisions for them and their family."

There are a number of common-sense requirements in the RMP at risk, such as:

1. The most dangerous facilities must undertake assessments of safer technologies to limit the severity of incidents.
2. Facilities must provide the public with information on what potential health risks they might face and how communities' can protect themselves from an incident.
3. Facilities must provide emergency planners and first responders with essential information needed to safely respond to an accident.

But if the proposed changes, which benefit industry while putting communities, first responders, and workers at risk, are put in place, these requirements will be eliminated. The EPA is neglecting their responsibility to use science and the public's input to ensure the safety of our communities and first responders.

Tell the EPA why we need the full protections of a strong RMP to safeguard our health and safety from chemical disasters.

- Jessica Thomas, Union of Concerned Scientists

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