[JURIST] The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] has abandoned plans to decrease the frequency of reporting requirements for the release of toxic chemicals by polluting companies, it was announced Thursday. The changes would have required polluters to report every other year rather than the current mandate of annual submissions. The EPA also asserted, however, that it will push next year for an increase in the amount of pollutants that triggers the requirement for companies to report, essentially exempting about one-third of 23,000 companies from the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) [EPA materials] reporting established in the 1986 Emergency Planning & Community Right to Know Act [text]. Under existing standards, polluters must report any release over 500 pounds, while the proposed change would only require reporting after the release of 5,000 pounds. The EPA's move follows criticism from US Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) [official websites], who staunchly oppose the proposed changes [press release]. Lautenberg, who penned the Right to Know law, called the changes a "giveaway to corporate polluters at the cost of everyday Americans' health" and an "irresponsible policy stand."
The chemicals that must be reported under TRI requirements include DDT, mercury, PCBs [EPA backgrounders] and other chemicals that do not substantially dissipate. The lower TRI standard would exempt many companies in the mining, utility, oil, rubber, plastics, printing, textile, leather tanning and semiconductor industries. AP has more.