EPA delays chemical safety rule until 2019

EPA delays chemical safety rule until 2019
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will delay implementation of an Obama-era chemical safety rule for nearly two years while it reassesses the necessity of the regulation. 

The EPA announced on Monday that Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Energy: Watchdog probes Pruitt speech to mining group | EPA chief promises to let climate scientists present their work | Volkswagen manager gets 7 years for emissions cheating Scott Pruitt's year of environmental destruction MORE signed a directive last Friday delaying the chemical plant safety standards until at least Feb. 20, 2019. 

The move comes after the EPA delayed the regulation in March amid discussions over the rule’s impact on businesses. 

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“We are seeking additional time to review the program, so that we can fully evaluate the public comments raised by multiple petitioners and consider other issues that may benefit from additional public input," Pruitt said in a statement.

Obama regulators in December finalized a rule beefing up safety standards at chemical production plants, calling for new emergency requirements for manufacturers regulated by the EPA. 

Officials moved to overhaul chemical safety standards after a 2013 explosion at a chemical plant in Texas killed 15 people. Their rule would require companies to better prepare for accidents and expand the EPA's investigative and auditing powers. 

But chemical companies wrote in a letter to Pruitt shortly after his February confirmation that the rule would raise “significant security concerns and compliance issues that will cause irreparable harm." 

The EPA sought public comment in March on a proposal to delay the rule while considering those objections. The agency said it received 54,117 comments before Pruitt formally moved to delay the rule.