EPA again seeks full toxic disclosure
WASHINGTON - The federal government will once again require companies to fully disclose the toxic chemicals they release into the air, onto land, and into water.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced yesterday that it was reversing a decision by the Bush administration in December 2006 to reduce the reporting of toxic pollution for more than 3,500 facilities nationwide. The Bush rules, designed to ease the burden on industry, allowed facilities storing or releasing smaller amounts of toxic chemicals to submit less-detailed information to the government.
More than a dozen states had sued the agency over the change saying it reduced the information available to the public about chemical hazards in communities. The EPA was required to reverse the rule by a spending bill signed into law in March. It will apply to reports due July 1 covering emissions during 2008.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that the annual database - known as the Toxics Release Inventory - was a crucial tool for safeguarding public health and the environment.
For more than two decades, the inventory has collected information on the release of hundreds of hazardous chemicals from thousands of facilities nationwide.
"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," Jackson said in a statement.