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In the name of "burden reduction," the EPA is seeking to water down the
nation's most important community right-to-know resource for toxic
pollution -- the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). Any changes to TRI should
be designed for the benefit of the public who use the TRI
database. Unfortunately, the only options outlined by EPA in this stage of
the "stakeholder dialogue" are geared towards making life easier for polluters.
The Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) is a national database, started in 1987,
where certain industries over a certain size have to report if they're
releasing more than a certain amount of certain toxic chemicals (currently,
612 chemicals and chemical groups out of over 80,000 chemicals in
industrial use). As you can see, it's fairly limited as is, yet it
provides valuable information that has enabled people to bring attention to
pollution sources in their community.
For the past several years, Pennsylvania has ranked as the 3rd to 5th most
polluted state, based on the industry-reported TRI data. Attention brought
to polluters based on TRI data has caused companies to decrease their
The TRI system needs to be strengthened to reduce the toxic burden on the
public, not weakened by reducing the paperwork burden on polluters.
For more information on TRI and TRI-reported toxic pollution in
http://www.actionpa.org/tri/ [On this website, you'll find links to excellent sites where you can
research toxics in your community.]
Feel free to use or change the default comments in the web page
above. You're also welcome to write your own comments. You can draw from
any of the language in this alert if you like, including any of the
To continue being a useful right-to-know tool, TRI must contain the most
complete, most accurate and most up-to-date data possible. Please do not
make TRI reporting less frequent; do not lower reporting thresholds based
on industrial sector, class of facility, business revenues or number of
employees; do not allow facilities to report ranges of emissions in place
of actual amounts; and do not allow facilities to skip reporting if their
emissions are "basically the same" as the year prior.
No reporting required under the current TRI system is unreasonable. EPA
already provides industry with reporting exemptions; these exemptions have
not been fully utilized. The integrity and usefulness of the TRI to data
users should be maintained, and expanded, to the fullest extent
possible. The American public deserves to know as much as possible about
toxic chemicals being released into their communities.
It's not EPA's job to relieve polluting industries of their 'burden' to
report to the public. It's EPA's job to relieve communities of the burden
of being polluted!
Please ensure that TRI data is checked for accuracy, that it's made
available to the public in a more timely manner, and that it includes MORE
industries (like waste incinerators and nuclear reactors) and MORE
pollutants (including radioactive pollutants).