Across the nation, more than 150 chemical incidents occur annually that endanger workers and communities. By law, effective March 15, 2021, 78 facilities in New Jersey that use extremely hazardous substances are required to hold a public meeting within 90 days of any incident that results in offsite deaths, injuries, evacuations, sheltering in place, property damage, or environmental damage.  This national U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule covers facilities that use specified extremely hazardous substances in certain quantities, including many chemical plants, oil refineries, food processing operations, etc.

This provision is part of the Risk Management Program (RMP) revised rule issued by EPA in 2017.  President Trump withdrew most of the rule in 2019, but retained much of the public meeting requirement.

The rule states: § 68.210 Availability of information to the public.

(b) Public meetings. The owner or operator of a stationary source shall hold a public meeting to provide information required under § 68.42(b), no later than 90 days after any RMP reportable accident at the stationary source with any known offsite impact specified in § 68.42(a).

Read WEC’s factsheet on the EPA RMP rule and learn how community members can take action.