The nation's chemical facilities will reportedly receive an additional 20 months to comply with already-delayed requirements to update their risk management practices.
Bloomberg reports that the Environmental Protection Agency delayed the effective date of the rule — already pushed back from its original March 21 implementation deadline — from June 19 until February 2019.
The agency said the additional time will be used to evaluate "petitions for reconsideration" and potential changes to the measure.
The rule, proposed by the Obama administration early last year, would require chemical plants to consider safer alternatives as part of their risk management planning process. It would also increase the amount of information available to the public, improve coordination between facilities and local officials and require audits and analyses to identify potential improvements.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt — who came under fire during his confirmation process for failing to disclose his previous opposition to the rule — told Bloomberg that the agency hoped to "prevent regulation created for the sake of regulation by the previous administration.”
Industry groups long criticized the mandate and warned that it could increase costs, disclose sensitive company information and ultimately "compromise the security of our facilities, emergency responders and our communities."
The risk management rule could also be struck down under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to reject newly passed federal regulations without the threat of a filibuster in the Senate.