California Toxic Release Inventory program proposed

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Feb. 24, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Assembly Member Ira Ruskin (D-Redwood City) has introduced a bill, AB 2490, that would establish a Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) program within California that would mirror and potentially add on to the current United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) program. Ruskin and environmentalists believe a California specific TRI program is necessary to counter an EPA proposal to reduce the frequency of toxic release reporting required by industry nationwide.

The US EPA announced a formal proposal that would expand the eligibility for businesses that could send in the TRI Form A (a certification statement rather than the more-detailed TRI Form R, if: 1) they are reporting that they have persistent bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals but do not actually release PBT wastes to the environment, and 2) if their total production related wastes do not exceed 5,000 pounds per year rather than the current threshold of 500 pounds.  In addition, US EPA announced that they are "exploring" a more radical change that would reduce reporting under TRI to every other year rather than annually.  The primary reason cited for the change has been to reduce the burden of TRI requirements on business - particularly small business.

The US EPA proposals have come under fire by environmentalists and some lawmakers at both the state and national level.  They claim the streamlining proposal will shortchange communities by restricting public access to the data.  

Ruskin plans to advocate for the measure to ensure TRI reporting requirements are upheld to at least the current federal levels in the event that US EPA approves the TRI overhaul plan. AB 2490 would require the California Environmental Protection Agency to develop a parallel program.  The bill does not specify how Cal/EPA would fund the program.  A filing fee might be proposed at a later date.   

The bill should be in print by Friday, February 24th.  CMTA will be following this bill closely.
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