Monday, January 02, 2006

EPA Backing off on Toxic Release Reporting will shield polluters

It's great when government works. It doesn't always, but once in awhile they hit a home run. For example, the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory Program (TRI).

For almost 20 years, the TRI program has been successful in making communities around the country safer and healthier by providing critical information on the toxic chemicals released into our land, water, and air. Information like that provided on allows you a window in to polluters in your community.

But now the Bush administration wants to raise the reporting threshold to 10 times its current level. Moving from annual reporting to every other year reporting, and allowing for less-detailed reporting on persistent, bioaccumlative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals poses a significant threat to our nation's health, safety, and environmental quality. As the United States responds to the effects of Hurricane Katrina, the EPA should recognize that there is a need for sufficient reporting on toxic chemicals released into our environment. And this comes at a time when we are still discovering just how toxic even trace amounts of certain chemicals can be.

American citizens need to retain the right to know what toxic chemicals are being released in their communities. I invite you to join me in voicing the wish to leave our kids a cleaner less-toxic world by urging the EPA to abandon its reduction proposals. Business and the environment have fared pretty well with TRI over the past two decades. Why shoot a horse that is still winning races?

But hurry! January 13 is the deadline for commenting. The Union of Concerned Scientists is providing leadership on this issue. Follow this link to learn more and take action.

1 comment:

Andrew Langer said...

A) The changes being proposed to the TRI program will see that 99.9% of the information currently being reported will still be reported;

B) As currently regulated, the TRI forces small businesses and minimal emitters to be treated the same as large businesses and large polluters. This is ludicrous.

C) Of the facilities being impacted by this rulemaking, more than half either release nothing into the environment or release less than fifty pounds of _any_ chemicals in an entire year.

TRI is not being weakened. It is being reformed. It is being changed to reflect the realities of those who are most impacted by the program and correct inequties.

- Andrew Langer