New York AG Urges EPA to Require Safer Chemical Plants

New York Attorney General Letitia James submitted testimony in support of revisions to the Environmental Protection Agency's Chemical Accident Safety Rule, which the Trump administration had weakened. The comments urge the EPA to improve the rule by requiring facilities to assess risks posed by natural hazards and by taking steps to protect environmental justice communities in proximity to the facilities. The testimony points to several examples of accidents to demonstrate that the risk of hazardous accidents has increased as extreme weather events are worsened by climate change. The letter also calls on the EPA to require facilities to consider safer alternative technologies, to conduct real-time air monitoring, and to put systems in place to improve emergency communications with nearby fenceline communities. Additionally, the letter summarizes and documents the success of similar requirements at the state level, including programs in New Jersey and Massachusetts.