Since the late 1990s, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has required facilities handling “extremely hazardous substances” to submit “risk management plans” (RMPs) at least every five years, detailing the chemicals they use, the risks that usage poses, what the facility is doing to minimize accidents, and a five-year accident history. As the EPA summarizes:
Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act Amendments requires EPA to publish regulations and guidance for chemical accident prevention at facilities that use certain hazardous substances. These regulations and guidance are contained in the Risk Management Program (RMP) rule. The RMP rule requires facilities that use extremely hazardous substances to develop a Risk Management Plan which:
- identifies the potential effects of a chemical accident,
- identifies steps the facility is taking to prevent an accident, and
- spells out emergency response procedures should an accident occur.
These plans provide valuable information to local fire, police, and emergency response personnel to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies in their community. Making RMPs available to the public also fosters communication and awareness to improve accident prevention and emergency response practices at the local level.
The RMP rule was built upon existing industry codes and standards. It requires facilities that use listed regulated Toxic or Flammable Substances for Accidental Release Prevention to develop an RMP and submit that plan to EPA.
In October 2022, the Data Liberation Project (DLP) filed a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the EPA’s RMP database, excluding the “Off-Site Consequence Analysis” (OCA) part of the submissions, which 40 CFR Part 1400 deems non-disclosable.
In December 2022, the DLP received a CD with a March 2022 version of the database, containing records through February 2022. (Per the EPA’s point-of-contact for this FOIA request, on November 10, 2022: “The most up to date non-OCA national database information is from March 2022 and we are working to update the information.” The DLP plans to request more recent data once it becomes available.)
After receiving the records, the Data Liberation Project and volunteers undertook efforts to understand, document, and process the data. We are providing:
- The raw records received via FOIA
- Those records converted to SQLite database files
- A simple facility/submission browser and viewer
- A set of simple spreadsheets providing an overview of each facility, submission, and reported accident
To access these resources and learn essential context about them, visit our main documentation for the data.