Saturday, December 03, 2005


Lining the stream: toxic release set to jump

The Los Angeles Times reports that Thousands of companies throughout the nation, including many in the Los Angeles region, would no longer have to provide the public with details of toxic chemicals they release into the environment under a Bush administration proposal... Kim Nelson, an assistant administrator at the EPA, said the companies that would benefit from the proposal are "tiny, tiny businesses, mom-and-pop shops operating on Main Street, that, in an aggregate, amount to less than 1% of the emissions in this country." But according to the agency's electronic inventory, many of the facilities are near residential areas, in communities with large low-income or minority populations. Many are owned by large corporations... Under existing rules, facilities that release 500 or more pounds of toxic substances each year must reveal how much of each chemical is emitted into the air, discharged into waterways and taken to landfills or other disposal sites. But under the EPA proposal, unveiled in September, that threshold would be raised to 5,000 pounds...Among the industries that could benefit are metal-plating plants, electronics firms, pharmaceutical companies, foam manufacturers, food processors and petrochemical and oil facilities. Little Mom and Pop operations like Pepsi and Clorox get to dump 10 times more toxics-- roughly fifteen 55 gallon drums per facility-- near poor communities. One can anticipate that industry will suddenly discover the virtue of small facilities and that the 1% of emissions the EPA claims these facilities represent will mushroom. This proposal is called "streamlining" the rules. Sure. The stream from the companies to Washington is lined with money.
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