EPA sued by 12 states over relaxed toxic-chemical rule
The U.S. EPA’s moves to relax the nation’s toxics reporting rule will not go unchallenged. Twelve states have announced they’re suing the agency over rule changes to the Toxics Release Inventory that allow companies to file less-informative reports and escape reporting if they release less than 5,000 pounds of toxic chemicals, up from the previous threshold, set under President Reagan, of triggering reports when 500 pounds of toxics or more are emitted. The Bush EPA has been trying to gut the rule for years and earlier this year finally managed to implement some of the industry-friendly changes. Under the new rules, about 5,300 facilities would not be required to report safety information about toxic chemical production and waste management, limiting the effectiveness of the inventory to citizens and activists. Commenting on the program, an EPA spokesperson trotted out the Bush admin’s old line, saying the revisions are “making a good program better.” Right, but for polluters.