Appeal finds Trump’s postponement of the 2017 Chemical Disaster Rule was unlawful

A US federal appeals court has ordered the Trump administration to immediately implement a postponed chemical safety rule that would require industrial facilities to take action to prevent chemical disasters.

The 2017 Chemical Disaster Rule was introduced under President Obama in response to a 2013 explosion at the West Fertilizer plant in Texas that killed 15 people. However, under Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency delayed implementing the rule for 20 months.

The court has ruled that this delay was unlawful. ‘By delaying the effective date, EPA has delayed compliance, reduced or eliminated the lead-up time to achieve the compliance that EPA had earlier found necessary, and thus has delayed life-saving protections,’ the court concluded.

‘As the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey approaches, chemical facilities must be better prepared to protect the communities where they do business,’ stated Andrew Rosenberg, director of Union of Concerned Scientists’ Center for Science and Democracy. In the 17 months since the rule was unlawfully delayed, he said there have been at least 58 chemical explosions, releases and incidents across the country.