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Colorado Legislator Joins More than 70 Elected Officials Nationwide Calling on EPA to Prevent Chemical Disasters, Protect Workers and Prioritize Environmental Justice
Letter to EPA Administrator Regan Urges Meaningful Reform of Rule that Manages Over 12,000 Chemical Facilities Nationwide
(January 26, 2022) - A letter was sent today by over 70 elected officials from 16 states and territories, including Representative Judy Amabile from Colorado, to EPA Administrator Michael Regan urging meaningful reform of the federal policy that is intended to prevent chemical disasters. Unfortunately, explosions and toxic leaks occur regularly at high-risk chemical facilities, which disproportionately affect workers, communities of color and low-income communities nationwide, making this a key environmental justice issue.
“We and our constituents are unwilling to continue living with the constant threat of chemical disasters that could destroy our neighborhoods, businesses, and communities, when safer chemicals and technologies exist,” reads the letter. “ Injuries, death and disease are not acceptable risks, and our communities are not sacrifice zones.”
The letter centers around the EPA’s Risk Management Plan, or RMP, rule which regulates over 12,000 high-risk chemical facilities nationwide and is currently being updated. Legislators who have signed onto the letter urging meaningful updates to the RMP rule represent a diverse number of states and territories, including: Colorado, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington, DC, and West Virginia. The full letter and list of signatories can be seen here.
In Colorado alone there are 214 RMP facilities, including the Suncor refinery, which “spews a nasty cocktail of toxic chemicals into the air above some of the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods,” according to a recent Westword article.
The letter specifically calls for the following measures to be included in the updated RMP:
“Our states, cities, and constituents cannot wait any longer for companies to voluntarily decide to remove these hazards at their convenience,” says the letter. “Chemical incidents can be prevented by incorporating common-sense policies into a strengthened RMP. Many safer chemicals and processes already exist, and more can be developed. What is missing, but urgently needed, are national requirements for transition to safer alternatives whenever possible, and other proven measures that can help prevent disasters.”
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