Anne Jordan was a contributing editor to GOVERNING.E-mail: email@example.com
A page in Governing's annual State & Local Sourcebook is always devoted to 50-state data on toxic chemical releases. The numbers come from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). I just learned that as a cost-saving measure, EPA wants to change the frequency that businesses have to report the amount and types of hazardous chemicals they release into the soil, air and water--from yearly to once every two years.
While it would be unfortunate if the Sourcebook couldn't publish new TRI data every year, there's obviously much more at stake. Waste News (subscription only)reports that six U.S. senators--four Democrats, one independent and one Republican--have sent a letter to EPA expressing their concern that "alternate-year reporting would deny citizens up-to-date information about local toxic releases, reduce incentives to minimize waste generation, withhold important information from public health agencies, and undermine the ability of states and EPA to guide their compliance assistance and enforcement priorities."
Sure sounds like something state and local officials should also be weighing in on. EPA's comment period for the proposed rule change, which was originally scheduled to close on December 5, has been extended to January 13.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.