The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reinstated stricter reporting requirements, under the direction of President Obama, for industrial and federal facilities that release toxic substances that threaten human health and the environment.
Reversing the Bush administration’s less stringent regulations, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson signed a final rule that restores the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements that were replaced by the TRI Burden Reduction Rule in December 2006. Under the Bush policies, companies were allowed to file less detailed information to government regulators.
The 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, signed by President Obama on March 11, 2009, mandated that prior TRI reporting requirements be reestablished. These changes will apply to all TRI reports due July 1, 2009.
The current TRI toxic chemical list contains 581 individually listed chemicals and 30 chemical categories. All reports on PBT chemicals must be submitted on the more detailed Form R. For all other chemicals, the shorter Form A may only be used if the annual reporting amount is 500 pounds or less and less than 1 million pounds of the chemical was manufactured, processed or otherwise used during the reporting year, said the EPA.
TRI is a publicly available EPA database that contains information on toxic chemical releases and waste management activities reported annually by certain industries as well as federal facilities.
AttorneyAtLaw.com said an estimated 3,500 facilities located across the United States are covered by EPA rules for the storage and disposal of toxic materials. More than a dozen states sued the EPA over the reduced disclosure requirements and said the easier rules put their citizens at risk of danger from exposure to the chemicals, according to the legal website.
By keeping closer tabs on which materials are being stored and released into the environment, the EPA will be in a far better position to ensure that potentially deadly industrial chemicals are handled properly and legally, said AttorneyAtLaw.com.