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 PruittTrump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 | Commerce Department led 'flawed process' on Sharpiegate, watchdog finds | EPA to end policy suspending pollution monitoring by end of summer Watchdog: EPA hasn't provided 'sufficient justification' for decision not to recover Pruitt travel spending 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.