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Victory for Groups that Sued EPA to Require the Oil and Gas Extraction Industry to Report to the Federal Toxic Release Inventory

Victory for Groups that Sued EPA to Require the Oil and Gas Extraction Industry to Report to the Federal Toxic Release Inventory Announced: October 27, 2015 In response to a petition and lawsuit by environmental and open government organizations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will propose regulations requiring natural gas processing plants to start reporting the toxic chemicals they release. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 551 plants processed more than 19 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2014, a record high and 32 percent increase over the last 10 years. EPA estimates that more than half of these plants would meet the size thresholds for reporting benzene (a carcinogen) as well as formaldehyde, hexane, and other toxic air and water pollution to the federal Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The TRI is an online public database to which most other industries have had to report for more than 20 years. EPA revealed its decision in a letter sent via email yesterday to the Environmental Integrity Project and nine partner organizations that sued the agency in January 2015 over its decades-long failure to require the oil and gas extraction industry to report its pollution to the federal government and public. The lawsuit followed an October 2012 petition in which EIP and seventeen co-petitioner organizations requested that EPA add the industry to the TRI.