The Environmental Protection Agency recently reversed a 2006 Bush Administration decision that reduced the reporting requirements of over 3,500 facilities across the nation. The 2006 decision allowed facilities that used less than 5,000 pounds of toxic chemicals or released less than 2,000 pounds of toxic chemicals to submit shorter, less-detailed reports. It was claimed by the Bush Administration that the rule was designed to lessen the burden on industry. But several states sued the EPA over the diminished reporting requirements, contending that the Bush Administration’s rule reduced the information available to the public about hazardous chemicals in their communities. Prior to the rule, more detailed information had to be provided in longer forms if there was as little as 500 pounds of toxic chemicals. This was a threshold that the Bush rule maintained only for some of the most dangerous chemicals.
The EPA maintains a database called the Toxics Release Inventory that collects information on the release of hundreds of chemicals from thousands of facilities. In a statement, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that “people have a right to the information that might affect their health and the health of their children – and EPA has a responsibility to provide it.” The diminished reporting requirements would have cut the number of emissions reports received by the government by a quarter. The new rule will apply to reports due July 1 and will cover emissions during 2008. Because the public has a right to know about the presence of hazardous chemicals in their communities I believe this is a good thing.
Source: Associated Press
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