of Management and Budget
March 4, 2002
Urges EPA to Accelerate and Simplify Distribution of
Widely Used Toxic Release Inventory Data
DC -- In a letter sent today, OMB's Office of Information
and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) requested that Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) enhance its Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), an annual
measure of chemical releases by facilities. EPA has 60 days to
respond to the request. A copy of the letter follows this release.
- "TRI data
is widely used by communities and companies throughout the country,
and has been credited with stimulating, through voluntary actions,
a significant reduction in pollution from industrial facilities,"
noted OIRA Administrator John D. Graham. "The Administration is
committed to increasing the utility of this information."
- OIRA suggested
several ways EPA might improve the dissemination of TRI data.
- It recommended
that the agency expedite the release of TRI data by making a greater
use of electronic reporting.
- "The increased
use of electronic reporting reduces the quality control burden
on the agency and should allow quicker processing of the data
for the public's benefit," Graham said.
- In recent
years, there has been a considerable lag in the delivery of TRI
data. Official TRI numbers for the year 2000 will not be released
until this spring -- almost a year after EPA received the data.
- OIRA also
encouraged EPA to assign a common identification number to each
facility, so performance data could be presented for specific
facilities. Community organizations have supported this concept
in the past.
request came in the form of a "prompt" letter, a tool introduced
by the Bush Administration. While not forcing agency action, prompt
letters alert agencies to issues that OMB considers worthy of
data is collected under authority of Emergency Planning and
Community Right to Know Act of 1986. Additional reporting
requirements were included in the Pollution Prevention Act
the TRI program, covered facilities are required to report
annually on their release, broken down by environmental media
(for example, air, land and water) and waste management activities
(for example, treatment and recycling) of over 600 listed
calendar year 1999, the most recent year for which data are
currently available, over 22,000 facilities filed 84,000 chemical
reports are widely used by government agencies, academic researchers,
environmental organizations, and members of the public to
track the release of toxic chemicals into the environment.
the Paperwork Reduction Act, OMB reviews and approves all
collections of information conducted by federal agencies in
order to ensure, among other things, that the data collected
have practical utility.
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