Environmental activists and some local government officials from U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s home town of Louisville, Kentucky, have expressed concern about the senator’s position on reversal of EPA regulations that took effect in the final days of the Obama administration. Since the president’s term had less than 60 days left, the regulations may be revoked by the U.S. legislature. Louisville is the site of at least 21 chemical plants subject to EPA Risk Management Plan rules.
Rubbertown Emergency Action, a Louisville group seeking chemical plant safety, has taken the position that lawmakers should act to promote their constituents’ welfare instead of protecting the interest of a national organization of chemical producers. At the time the regulations were first approved the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District’s spokesman supported them as being good for workers and local residents. The agency had no position on revoking the Risk Management Plan rules.
Representative John Yarmuth, a Democratic U.S. Congressman from Kentucky, said that the work put into the rule-making and the local history of chemical accidents in Louisville justified keeping the regulations intact. He stated that more protection is needed, not less. Part of the reason given for revoking the regulations is that the information contained in Risk Management Plans poses a security risk. In fact, journalists seeking to view the RMPs of local chemical plants only gained access by means of a request to the Justice Department and were only allowed to look at them under supervision.
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