"U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has frozen implementation of updated safety regulations for thousands of chemical plants, oil refineries and other industrial facilities, saying the delay is needed to consider an industry coalition's petition to scrap the new rules.
"As an agency, we need to be responsive to concerns raised by stakeholders regarding regulations so facility owners and operators know what is expected of them," Pruitt said in a news release yesterday evening announcing the three-month postponement.
The controversial regulations, published in January, were set to take effect next Tuesday. Under the stay signed yesterday by Pruitt, the effective date is now June 19.
EPA issued the regulations in response to a 2013 Obama administration executive order after an explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer storage and distribution facility killed 15 people, most of them firefighters.
They are intended to strengthen efforts to head off accidents, better protect first responders from chemical exposure and do more to keep the public informed of potential risks at plants."