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12 states sue over EPA rules

Published November 29, 2007


ALBANY, N.Y. - Twelve states sued the Bush administration Wednesday to force greater disclosure of data on toxic chemicals that companies store, use and release into the environment.

The state officials oppose new federal Environmental Protection Agency rules that allow thousands of companies to limit the information they disclose to the public about toxic chemicals, according to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the lead attorney general in the lawsuit.

The change lets 100 polluters off the hook in New York alone, he said.

The EPA this year rolled back a regulation on the Toxics Release Inventory law signed by President Ronald Reagan after the deadly Bhopal toxic chemical catastrophe in India in 1984, according to the states involved in the suit. That law required companies to provide a detailed report whenever they store or emit 500 pounds of specific toxins.

The new rule adopted this year requires that long accounting only for companies storing or releasing 5,000 pounds of toxins or more. Companies storing or releasing 500 to 4,999 pounds of toxins would have to file an abbreviated form, said Katherine Kennedy, New York's special deputy attorney general for environmental protection.

EPA spokeswoman Molly O'Neill said companies that can show they release none of the toxins can avoid filing time-consuming reports. She said the change is "making a good program better."

The other states suing are Arizona, California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

[Last modified November 29, 2007, 02:25:37]

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