EPA is under renewed pressure to significantly strengthen protections under its chemical facility safety rule for communities living near industrial facilities, with state and local lawmakers from more than a dozen states citing environmental justice (EJ) concerns and urging measures beyond those established by the Obama administration. In a Jan. 26 letter, more than 70 state and local lawmakers urge EPA Administrator Michael Regan to revamp EPA’s Risk Management Program (RMP) rule in order to better protect communities near chemical facilities. “As elected officials representing many communities across the U.S., we are writing to urge [EPA] to adopt a strengthened [RMP], or chemical disaster prevention rule, to protect communities across the United States,” the legislators from 16 states, territories and local governments write. Stephanie Herron, national organizer with Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform (EJHA) -- which is an advocacy group that organized and distributed the lawmakers’ letter -- told Inside EPA in response to a question that the lawmakers are weighing in now in order to influence EPA before it proposes the rule. “Now is a critical time to weigh in with EPA on these key provisions” needed to make the rule more stringent, she said.