The Federal Government wants to quit forcing companies to report releases of toxic pollutants of 5,000 pounds or less and allow them to submit reports
on their pollution every two years instead of every year.
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 said it 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.
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I work in the Marine industry, and we report to the Coast Guard. If there's an accident, we have to report it no matter how small or how big. If we
don't report it, we can get into big trouble. I don't see how it should be any different for toxic spills.
5,000 pounds? 5,000 pounds of anything can kill a lot of people, animals, vegetation, or any other living matter. And, the key word there is
"claim". If they release 10,000 pounds, are they going to "claim" that it was only 5,000 pounds?
Companies, just like people, have a responsibility to uphold when it has the possibility of endangerment. If they want to deal in toxic materials,
then they need to accept the burden of dealing in toxic materials, including reporting toxic spills.
If I'm reading this correctly, and there's a spill somewhere, we may not find out about it for two years? Or, if, say, 5,000 pounds of anthrax get
out, they don't have to say anything?
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[edit on 2-10-2005 by DJDOHBOY]