The current rule requires that the risk management plan (also referred to as an RMP) be available to the public; however, access to this information is currently restricted to Federal Reading Rooms or through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. EPA proposed, and is finalizing with modifications, a requirement for information relevant to public awareness of safety risks to be available to the public upon request. Residents of the nearby community will need relevant information for their emergency preparedness including effective notification of accidental release, and evacuation and shelter-in-place information. The information required to be provided under the final rule includes publicly available information that community residents, owners and managers of health and day care facilities, and other community members need in order to properly respond to chemical plant accidents with appropriate actions such as evacuation or sheltering-in-place. EPA believes that this approach to notifying the public that information is available upon request strikes an appropriate balance between various concerns, including information availability, community right-to-know, minimizing facility burden, and minimizing
information security risks.
EPA is also requiring owners or operators to provide instructions for requesting the information elements and the location of other available information related to community emergency preparedness.
The final rule will uphold security, increase relevant, shared knowledge for first responders and improve accessibility for community awareness and self-protection. The final rule will not jeopardize security and/or CBI by utilizing the internet as a means of information sharing.