Those corporate whores masking as EPA officials, the ones who are in George W. Bush’s back pocket, just keep pushing the envelope…
The government wants to quit forcing companies to report small releases of toxic pollutants and allow them to submit reports on their pollution less frequently.
Saying it wants to ease its regulatory burden on companies, the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday proposed adopting a “short form” that would excuse companies from disclosing spills and other releases of toxic substances if:
_They claim to release fewer than 5,000 pounds of a specific chemical. The current limit is 500 pounds.
_They store onsite but claim to release “zero” amounts of the worst pollutants, such as mercury, DDT and PCBs, that persist in the environment and work up the food chain. However, they must report if they have stored dioxin or dioxin-like compounds, even if none is released.
EPA also plans to ask Congress “for permission to require the accounting every other year instead of annually.”
The EPA’s annual Toxics Release Inventory began under a 1986 community right-to-know law. The first year the change could be possible, if Congress agreed, would be 2008.
“We certainly recognize there will be concerns moving to every other year,” said Kimberly Nelson, EPA’s assistant administrator for environmental information. “Every community will still have the same information about the types of toxic releases. They just won’t have some of the details in terms of how that particular substance was managed or released.”
Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont called the proposal “a frontal assault” on one of the nation’s most successful environmental laws.
“The community right to know act will become the community right to know every other year act,” said Jeffords, a former chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “This proposal would deny communities up-to-date information about local toxic releases, reduce incentives to minimize the generation of toxic waste and undermine the ability of public health agencies and researchers to identify important trends.”
Tom Natan, research director of the National Environmental Trust said:
“Today’s announcement by the EPA is a move that places polluter interests squarely ahead of public health and safety. With less data, scientists and the media will find it more difficult to reduce environmental and health risks that can endanger the public.”
“We know that more than 180 dangerous chemicals are released in the New Orleans area by more than 60 chemical and petroleum facilities because of TRI. This proposed data reduction will make cleanup all the more difficult in the aftermath of future disasters.”
I’m not surprised by this latest move on the EPA’s part. It’s been in the works now for some time as the Bush administration systematically continues it’s efforts to strip our nation of every environmental protection we have.