MANHATTAN (CN) – Twelve states sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Federal Court for weakening regulations that require businesses and industries to report the toxic chemicals they use, store and release. The states, led by New York, ask the court to order the EPA to revert to the Toxics Release Inventory reporting requirements in effect for two decades before the Bush administration weakened them.
The EPA claimed it was “streamlining” the reporting process in December 2006 when it changed the rules for companies that store or release less than 5,000 lbs. of toxic chemicals. The old rules required more complete disclosure on storage or release of 500 lbs. or more of toxic chemicals. EPA regulators said the new rules would be “less burdensome” for business.
The Toxics Release Inventory program was enacted in 1986, spurred by the gas leak from a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, that killed thousands of people and crippled thousands more.
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo told The New York Times, “The EPA’s new regulations rob New Yorkers – and people across the country – of their right to know about toxic dangers in their own back yards.”