Groups Wage Legal Battle Over Fate Of Chemical Plant Rule

April 19, 2017
Scientists and environmentalists take steps to defend chemical plant safety rule despite opposition from fossil fuel lobbyists.

A legal battle over the fate of the chemical plant rule has environmentalists in one corner and fossil fuel groups in the other. According to an article from CNN, the Union for Concerned Scientists, Sierra Club and Earthjustice filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed by fossil fuel groups last month requesting that the EPA delay or reconsider its Accidental Release Prevention Requirements (ARPR), which place more regulations on chemical plants. Yogin Kothari, Washington representative with the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, notes that there is some concern that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt won’t defend the rule since he objected to it in 2016 as Oklahoma Attorney General, citing national security concerns. 

In March, fossil fuel groups including the American Chemistry Council, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufactures and American Petroleum Institute sued the EPA to petition a review of the final rule, calling it “unlawful, arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion.” The group asked for and was granted a 90-day freeze on implementing the rule and is now seeking an additional two-year delay. The ARPR were enacted in response to the West Texas fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 and injured more than 160 in 2013. The regulations, in part, are intended to help public safety and readiness by offering information about the nature of the chemicals stored and to improve coordination between facilities and first responders.

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