Chemicals in Your Backyard? You Might Not Know About It

Posted on December 14, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

From “The Pump Handle 

If you live near a facility that releases between 500 and 2,000 pounds of a toxic chemical each year, you may be about to lose your access to important information about what you and your neighbors are potentially exposed to. That’s because EPA has changed its Toxics Release Inventory reporting requirements, raising the level at which facilities have to start detailed reporting on the release of designated chemicals from 500 pounds to 2,000. (More on the TRI and why it’s important here.) Thanks the the new rule, more than 3,500 facilities will be able to skip filing more than 22,000 TRI reports.

A report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office (PDF) tells us that the change is a blow to EPA programs, the IRS, state governments, researchers, and local advocacy groups that rely on TRI data. It also tells us that the EPA skipped some important steps in the usual process in order to meet a commitment to the White House Office of Management and Budget.

There are times when it makes sense to rush a rule process and skip some of the usual steps – for instance, when exposure to a dangerous chemical is destroying workers’ lungs, and delay will mean that more workers will be hurt. What was the urgent reason for rushing this rule to completion?



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