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PR EPA EXPANDS REPORTING OF TOXIC CHEMICAL RELEASES TO COMMUN

Release Date: 11/29/94
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PR EPA EXPANDS REPORTING OF TOXIC CHEMICAL RELEASES TO COMMUN

FOR RELEASE: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 1994

EPA EXPANDS REPORTING OF TOXIC CHEMICAL RELEASES TO COMMUNITIES, STREAMLINES REPORTING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a final rule to protect public health by providing communities information they need about releases of toxic chemicals in their local areas. EPA is adding 286 chemicals -

    nearly double the current amount -- to the Toxic Release Inventory, a community-right-to-know program that lists chemical releases from industry and other sources throughout the country and makes that data available to the public.
In a related action, EPA announced another final rule that will make it easier for small businesses to provide communities the information they need about low volumes of chemical releases through use of a shorter, less timeconsuming reporting form.

EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner said, "This vital information about pollution in our communities allows citizens to be informed and involved in environmental decision-making as never before. Community-right-to-know laws are a common sense way to protect public health, and I encourage citizens to use the data to work with local facilities to address pollution issues in their communities."

In 1992, 334 chemicals were included on the TRI. As part of the Clinton Administration's commitment to community right to know, the number of chemicals for which releases must be made public to local communities will now expand to 654, an increase of 286 chemicals.

The alternative reporting rule is the result of extensive consultation with industry, labor unions, public interest groups and others. Browner said, "By working with industry and the communities who use this data, we've come up with a common sense way to make it easier for industries that release lower amounts of these chemicals to provide the information that citizens need and want to know."

The database of chemicals that can harm public health or the environment represents the Agency's commitment to the community right-to-know law. Companies must report annually to EPA and the states on their releases of these chemicals into the environment and their transfer of these chemicals off-site for waste management. EPA then makes these data available to the public, which can use them to assess risks in local communities. Before today's proposal, there were slightly more than 350 chemicals or chemical categories on the list.

The Agency believes that broadening the scope of the chemical list will provide citizens with a more complete picture of chemicals that affect their communities. In addition, the expansion will focus industry's attention on further pollution prevention or source reduction opportunities. Finally, the expansion will provide a broad, multimedia picture of these additional chemicals, not currently evident or possible from single media permitting or data collection activities.

The alternative reporting rule has its roots in EPA's need to respond to petitions from the Small Business Administration and the American Feed Industry Association that requested relief from the TRI reporting burden. The new rule stipulates that only facilities which report more than 500 pounds of a TRI

chemical, or manufacture, process or use more than 1 million pounds of a TRI chemical, need to complete the current longer form. Prior to the passage of this new rule, all facilities reporting to the TRI completed the same extensive long form.

In addition to today's TRI expansion, EPA over the past year has added 34 chemicals to the TRI list, including ozone-depleting HCFCs and chemicals regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

The TRI data are available to the public in several formats including online access to computer databases, CD-ROM and computer diskettes. For general information on access to any data formats call 202-260-1531. EPA also maintains a technical hotline to help the public understand TRI reporting at 1-800-353-0202.

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