U.S. Water News Online
WASHINGTON-- The Clinton Administration has proposed a major expansion of reporting requirements for toxic industrial releases.
The proposal, expected to become final before the end of the year, for the first time would require electric utilities, mining companies, and hazardous waste treatment companies, among others, to report how much toxic pollution they release.
Currently the reporting requirements are limited to a broad sweep of manufacturing sites, including refineries and chemical plants, giving the public a false impression of how much toxic material is actually released, administration officials said.
"Putting information about local pollution into the hands of the public is the single most effective, common-sense tool available for protecting human health and the environment," said Vice President Al Gore, who announced the proposal.
Requiring seven new industrial sectors to file annual toxic emission statistics would increase the number of industrial sites subject to the reporting from the current 23,000 to nearly 30,000 facilities.
Environmentalists have long complained that some of the country's major polluters -- including mining companies and coal-burning electricity plants -- are not required to publicize their toxic emissions data annually.
While announcing plans to expand the program, the Environmental Protection Agency said that in 1994, emissions from manufacturing sites continued to decline, as they have since 1988.
EPA reported a total of 2.26 billion pounds of toxic chemicals released by factories, refineries, and chemical plants into the air, water, and ground in 1994, compared with 2.8 billion pounds reported for 1993.
As in years past, chemical plants accounted for the largest amount of releases -- a total of 851 million pounds -- followed by the primary metals industries at 313 million pounds, and paper industries at 246 million pounds.
As in previous years, Texas, Tennessee, and Louisiana were the top states in emissions.
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