Although the United States averages 150 chemical disasters each year, President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is still trying to repeal the life-saving disaster prevention measures in the already-delayed Chemical Disaster Rule.
This repeal shows flagrant disregard for nearly 177 million people across the country who live dangerously close to facilities that store and use dangerous chemicals. It shows how little this administration cares for the health and safety of our communities, the millions of schoolchildren whose classrooms are in potential chemical disaster impact zones and the workers and first responders who handle and protect us from these chemicals every day.
Tell the EPA to move forward—not backward—on chemical safety. Instead of weakening the Chemical Disaster Rule, EPA should implement the original strong protections for our workers, communities and first responders, and evaluate whether additional measures are necessary.
Since the Trump administration delayed the rule, the press has documented dozens of the kinds of explosions, fires and hazardous chemical releases that the rule was supposed to prevent and mitigate. The EPA has released no data on this type of chemical incident under the Trump Administration, and those disasters reported in the news are likely just the tip of the iceberg. Many incidents are not reported publicly, and the agency has refused to release information on any chemical incidents during the EPA’s delay of protections.
As the Gulf Coast prepares for a hurricane season that comes earlier each year, the dire consequences of this delay are immediate. A community battling hurricanes and floods shouldn’t have to face a hazardous chemical release in its neighborhood, but that’s exactly what occurred as refineries and chemical facilities in the Gulf failed to take the necessary steps to prepare for Hurricane Harvey last year.
The communities facing the greatest threat are Black, Latino and low-income. Earthjustice is working with a coalition of local fenceline communities, scientists, union workers and national environmental groups to keep the Chemical Disaster Rule protections strong—but we need you to speak up.
As EPA continues to flout the law and exempt chemical facilities from safety measures, our communities continue to face dangerous releases, fires and explosions. Tell EPA that we need the Chemical Disaster Rule in force now, before more people die or are exposed to hazardous chemicals because of EPA’s failure to follow the law and fulfill its mission to protect public health and safety.