[JURIST] Twelve states filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF; press release] against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] Wednesday, seeking to invalidate new regulations that relax disclosure requirements [EPA Toxic Release Inventory materials] for companies storing or emitting 500 or more pounds of toxins. The civil case will be led by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo [official website], and was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website]. Joining New York in the suit are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. Cuomo argues that the new regulations "rob New Yorkers – and people across the country – of their right to know about toxic dangers in their own backyards."
The new EPA regulations require detailed disclosure only whenever companies store or release 5,000 pounds of toxins, while allowing companies to file an abbreviated form when they store or release between 500 and 4,999 pounds of toxins. The old Toxic Release Inventory law, established under the 1986 Emergency Planning & Community Right to Know Act [text], required detailed disclosure from any company dealing with 500 or more pounds of toxic materials, and was signed by President Ronald Reagan after the 1984 Union Carbide chemical disaster in Bhopal, India [Wikipedia backgrounder] caused the deaths of between 2,500 and 5,000 people. The EPA announced last year that it would push for the relaxed reporting requirements [JURIST report] after it abandoned plans to move reporting from an annual basis to every two years. AP has more.