August 31, 2022

SOCMA Statement on EPA Proposed Rule on Risk Management Program (RMP)

Arlington, VA – The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) Vice President, Legal and Government Relations, Robert F. Helminiak released the following statement, addressing the significant problems with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule on Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention, also known as the Risk Management Program (RMP).

“The proposed RMP rule does not reflect adequate understanding of the chemical manufacturing industry, and lacks specific consideration of batch manufacturing. SOCMA is extremely disappointed by this, as we have worked to educate EPA about four particular aspects of the RMP proposal in which the cost and difficulty of implementation for batch facilities are high, and any risk mitigation is low.  

The specialty and batch manufacturing industry presents unique challenges to regulators because our facilities do not run the same process day in and day out. We often manufacture products to the specifications of a contract, in specific volumes. Equipment is then reconfigured, new input chemicals are brought in, and the manufacturing process is changed in order to produce the next new product. Failure to understand batch manufacturing leads to problematic regulations and subsequent issues with inspections and audits. 

As detailed below, SOCMA’s chief areas of concern with the proposal are safer technology and alternative analysis (STAA), information disclosures, third-party audits and fenceline monitoring. Through these proposed amendments, EPA is promoting subjectivity in compliance and enforcement, potentially creating security risks and an overall failure to understand the complexity of batch manufacturing.” 


SOCMA and its member companies are concerned with four areas of the RMP proposed rule: 

  • Safer Technology and Alternative Analysis (STAA) 
    • In a batch manufacturing facility, this analysis cannot be done once, based on what the facility looks like at any given time. It must consider future manufacturing projects at the site, and in most cases, potential forthcoming projects cannot be known. Furthermore, outside consultants and EPA inspectors will lack intimate knowledge of the facility, its manufacturing processes, and projects possessed by facility personnel, which could lead to disagreements about the feasibility or risk reduction potential of particular options.  
  • Information Disclosure Requirements 
    • SOCMA members make safety their highest priority and work closely with Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs). SOCMA members provide LEPCs and the public with all the information necessary to understand hazards at facilities, and how to prepare for and respond to releases. This proposal does not provide adequate protections against disclosure based on considerations of security and protection of confidential business information. 

  • Third-Party Audits 
    • The most effective audit for a batch manufacturing facility is an internal audit. Most third-party auditors will have no immediate understanding of the unique operating specifications and processes at batch manufacturing facilities, and will be less able to provide insightful and constructive input. While independent audits can sometimes provide value when an auditor has specific expertise, facilities should ultimately evaluate their unique management systems and determine when such additional services are warranted. 
  • Fenceline Monitoring 
    • While EPA states that fenceline monitoring is not included in the proposed rule, EPA does request additional comment on fenceline monitoring. Fenceline monitoring has no place in the Risk Management Program; this type of monitoring will not work to mitigate the risk of a release. EPA’s existing Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) program is a much more effective tool in preventing releases.  
    • The cost of implementing fenceline monitoring at a batch facility is substantial because of the fluctuating variety of chemicals in the facility, and monitoring equipment is not universal. Many different monitors would need to be purchased and placed on different areas of the fenceline and regularly checked and maintained. Also, the effectiveness of monitors is compromised if there is a nearby manufacturing facility, gas station or other nearby businesses with emissions, as they may not necessarily be able to indicate the cause of the release. 

Solely dedicated to the specialty and fine chemical industry, SOCMA focuses on building commercial connections, supporting manufacturing and operations, and advocating for regulatory and legislative policies.

Samantha Hill
Manager, Communications
(571) 348-5116

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