In December 2016, the EPA issued a final rule, the “Chemical Disaster Rule,” aimed at preventing releases of hazardous substances from chemical facilities and ameliorating their consequences when they occur. In June 2017, the EPA issued a rule delaying the Chemical Disaster Rule’s effective date for nearly two years. Supporting a challenge to the delay, Public Citizen represented three former regulatory officials with expertise in the regulation of hazardous chemicals that posed significant risks to workers at chemical facilities and to members of the public.
In August 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down EPA’s delay of the chemical disaster rule, holding that the delay was not authorized by the Clean Air Act and that the agency’s action was arbitrary and capricious because the agency failed to explain why its previously stated reasons for determining that implementation of the chemical disaster rule would be beneficial were no longer valid.