PROTECTING ACCESS TO ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION

RTKnet: Issues

Our environmental right-to-know involves a broad range of issues, from how to respond to chemical emergencies to protecting the quality of our drinking water to ways we can be active in our democracy, and much more.

EPA Launches New Mapping Tool to Improve Public Access to Enforcement Information

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of a new mapping feature in EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) database. As part of EPA’s ongoing effort to improve transparency, the EPA and State Enforcement Actions Map will allow the public to access federal and state enforcement information in an interactive format and to compare enforcement action information by state. The map will be refreshed monthly to include up to date information about the enforcement actions taken to address violations of air, water, and waste laws.

(12 Oct 2011)

EPA Proposes New Expansions to the Toxics Release Inventory Program (OMB Watch)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced its plans to expand the industry sectors required to report to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program and to require electronic reporting for all TRI data. These steps are part of EPA's ongoing efforts to improve and reinvigorate the TRI program.

(18 Jul 2011)

EPA Improves Access to Information on Hundreds of Chemicals (EPA)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making it easier to find data about chemicals. EPA is releasing two databases — the Toxicity Forecaster database (ToxCastDB) and a database of chemical exposure studies (ExpoCastDB) — that scientists and the public can use to access chemical toxicity and exposure data.

(16 Jun 2011)

EPA Removes Confidentiality Claims for More Than 150 Chemicals (EPA)

In order to ensure the public has as much information as possible about the health and the environmental impacts of chemicals, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has made public the identities of more than 150 chemicals contained in 104 health and safety studies that had been claimed confidential by industry. Today’s announcement is another in a series of unprecedented actions that EPA is taking to provide the public with greater access to information on the chemicals that are manufactured and used in the United States.

(15 Jun 2011)

EPA Releases Searchable Website for Drinking Water Violations (U.S. EPA)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced improvements to the availability and usability of drinking water data in the Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) tool. ECHO now allows the public to search to see whether drinking water in their community met the standards required under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which is designed to safeguard the nation’s drinking water and protect people’s health.

(24 May 2011)

EPA Suspends Chemical Reporting (OMB Watch)

On May 11, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suspended the next submission period for the Toxic Substances Control Act's (TSCA) Inventory Update Reporting (IUR). The IUR is an inventory of chemical substances in commerce in the United States. The suspension came a month after the agency received complaints from House Republicans and the chemical industry about difficulties complying with new reporting requirements.

(24 May 2011)

More than 100 Organizations Make Environmental Right-to-Know Recommendations to Obama Administration (OMB Watch)

On May 10, on behalf of more than 100 public interest organizations, OMB Watch presented a set of detailed environmental right-to-know recommendations to the Obama administration.

(24 May 2011)

EPA's Right-to-Know Effort Discloses Chemicals in 42 Health and Safety Studies (Environmental Defense Fund)

EDF reports: "EPA has just released today the full versions — showing the identities of the chemicals in question — of 41 'substantial risk' notices of health and safety studies it had previously received from companies that had denied the public's right to know those identities by claiming them to be confidential business information (CBI)."

(25 Mar 2011)

Congress Seeks to Reveal Toxic Drilling Chemicals (OMB Watch)

Congressional Democrats have reintroduced legislation that would disclose the hazardous chemicals used in drilling for natural gas. Cases of potential water contamination have been increasing as the nation experiences a boom in gas drilling. Secrecy surrounding the identities of the chemicals, many of which are known to be hazardous, has hampered efforts to protect public and environmental health.

(25 Mar 2011)

EPA Proposes Expanding Drinking Water Monitoring (U.S. EPA)

The EPA is proposing adding 30 currently unregulated contaminants for monitoring in drinking water systems, and submitting this proposal for public comment. EPA plans to test for several hormones in drinking water supplies, along with metals, VOCs, perfluorinated compounds, and other substances. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA must keep drinking water standards up-to-date with emerging science and identify up to 30 unregulated contaminants for monitoring every five years. EPA is requesting public comment on the proposed list of 30 contaminants until May 2, 2011.

(09 Mar 2011)