Twenty AGs Called on EPA to Protect Environmental Justice Communities from Chemical Accidents

New York Attorney General Letitia James led a coalition of 20 attorneys general in submitting comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its “Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention” proposed rule, which would revise Risk Management Program regulations under section 112(r)(7) of the Clean Air Act. In their comments, the coalition agreed with EPA that the rule should not have been repealed in 2019, and supported the agency’s proposal to address the lack of protection from chemical accidents. However, the AGs urged EPA to strengthen the rule, and offered a number of recommendations for how to do so. For example, the AGs recommended that EPA consider the effects of all natural and climate disasters on chemical accident risks, require employees at chemical facilities to be involved in the development of risk management plans, and broaden community access to information about risks at nearby facilities. Additionally, since historically marginalized communities face increased risk of chemical accidents, the AGs also called on EPA to consider the proposed rule through an environmental justice lens—by, for example, “assessing and redressing barriers to racial and socioeconomic justice, [and] making chemical hazard information available in multiple languages.”