Toxic Disclosure Should be Expanded, Not Scaled Back

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In the wake of a series of chemical spills in the United States and a disastrous accident at a chemical plant in Bhopal, India that claimed thousands of lives, Congress 20 years ago passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act. Under the Act, industrial facilities every year must report their releases of toxic chemicals into the environment, which the government then makes publicly available through its Toxics Release Inventory program.

The TRI program allows for public scrutiny of specific companies’ polluting practices, which in turn creates a powerful disincentive to pollute. Despite dramatic reductions in toxic releases, however, industry-backed groups have sought to scale back this public disclosure—and found a willing ally in the Bush administration.


Published by Center for American Progress.