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Chemical Industry Urges More Focused Enforcement

Volume 2, Issue 11
June 15th, 2014
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BP PLANT EXPLOSIONIn a letter to the President, 16 chemical and other industry groups said that in place of imposing new safety regulations, the government should focus on enforcement and improving emergency response.

The letter was written in reaction to an initiative mounted by several agencies to overhaul chemical safety oversight following last year’s massive ammonium nitrate explosion in West, Texas.

The groups said, “The chemical industry is one of the most regulated industries in the world, and data show that the industry also is one of the safest.”

Among those who signed the letter were the American Chemistry Council,National Association of Chemical Distributors,National Association of Manufacturers and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

They said the President should work with the industry and others to ensure that emergency responders have the information they need to protect communities where chemicals are stored.

“Increased recognition and leveraging of industry performance improvement programs should be an essential component of enhancing and updating the current federal approach, and we are eager to discuss how this might be accomplished,” they said.

Instead of increasing regulatory burdens, agencies should focus on outreach and education, and target enforcement to firms known for noncompliance.

“It is counterproductive to create new laws or regulations if the implementing agencies do not have the resources or expertise to enforce them,” the industry groups told President Obama.

“Creating additional requirements will only further diminish such entities’ overall capacity to ensure compliance and will not improve safety for companies who are meeting the current standards and consistently do so.”

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