EPA proposes fewer toxics reporting requirements for industrial facilities

Industrial plants would report their chemical releases every other year instead of annually under a policy change proposed by the U.S. EPA. The agency also indicated it wants to raise the threshold for reporting the release of certain chemicals from 500 to 5,000 pounds. Both are major changes to the Toxics Release Inventory, an almost two-decades-old data-gathering and reporting program created under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. EPA claims the weakened rules will help the agency improve the “quality, clarity, usefulness, and accessibility” of the information it supplies to the public. But Sean Moulton of non-profit watchdog OMB Watch says the changes would “gut the program.” An environmental manager at a Louisville, Ky., chemical plant estimates that reduced reporting will save him just 16 hours of work a year.