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Special Report

Fortnightly Magazine - January 1 1999

on the Internet

Studies have shown that advocacy organizations are the groups most frequently contacted by the public for TRI information. By publicizing and trying to interpret TRI data, organizations such as those listed below are becoming effective at pressuring companies to reduce their chemical emissions. If nothing else, they are equipping citizens with TRI data to lobby state and local regulators.

Environmental Defense Fund (

The EDF's "Chemical Scorecard" allows the user to send free faxes describing their concerns to the top-ranked polluters in an area. It provides a list of environmental organizations in the user's area, which he can contact to work with on local toxic chemical problems. And it provides information about pollution prevention-how companies can avoid creating pollution in the first place.

The RTK (Right-To-Know) NET (

This is a network providing free access to numerous databases, text files and conferences on the environment, housing and sustainable development. With the information available on RTK NET, one can identify specific factories and their environmental effects, analyze reinvestment by banks in their communities, and assess the people and communities affected.

Envirofacts Warehouse (

The EPA created the Envirofacts Warehouse to provide direct access to the vast amount of information in its national systems. The Envirofacts Warehouse helps EPA fulfill its responsibility to make information available to the public, as required by the 1996 Superfund Reauthorization Act and other federal legislation. Among other things, the Warehouse contains a relational database of the national database of Superfund sites, the Envirofacts Master Chemical Integrator, locational reference tables and a variety of demographic data.

1 Sec. 313, Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986, 42 U.S.C. sec. 11023.

2 Addition of Facilities in Certain Industry Sectors; Toxic Chemical Release Reporting; Community Right-to-Know (Final Rule, effective Dec. 31, 1997, for reporting year beginning Jan. 1, 1998), 62 Fed. Reg. 23834 (May 1, 1997).

3 "Factors to Consider in Using TRI Data," 1996 Toxics Release Inventory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, May 1998, p. 9.

4 Distinguish this user's guide from the handbook to assist utilities in reporting toxic releases: Guidance for Electricity Generation Facilities (Version 1.0), Sept. 26, 1997. See

5 Federal laws that already require reporting of chemical releases include the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

6 Case 1:97CV03074, filed Dec. 23, 1997.

7 From an April 17, 1997 dispatch by Reuters.

8 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 110 State Implementation Plan (SIP) Call.


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