EPA pilots capability to file once, use often

The Environmental Protection Agency will streamline reporting for its Toxics Release Inventory by enabling companies in three states to submit their annual accounting of dangerous chemical releases once to EPA’s Central Data Exchange using the TRI-ME reporting software.

CDX will forward the data to the three states participating in the pilot—Illinois, South Carolina and Virginia—through the Environmental Information Exchange Network, said EPA CIO Kim Nelson. Companies must typically file to both EPA and state agencies.

CDX is the point of entry on the Environmental Information Exchange Network for environmental data submissions to EPA. The Toxics Release Inventory is a public database that industries must update annually by July 1 for the preceding year.

Under the pilot project, EPA will receive industry reports into a data warehouse that will feed it directly to the three states. When CDX is fully functional, states will be able to drop their individual data collection systems and receive data via the Exchange Network

“This provides a huge cost savings for the agency and a higher quality of data coming in,” Nelson said yesterday at a luncheon sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council.

One-time reporting eliminates the need for states to submit to EPA their own versions of the industry reports several weeks later and improves reconciliation among inventory numbers. It also erases possible errors that can skew results when states submit their own versions of the reports.

“It’s not unusual to have to correct an incorrect number one, two or six months later. It’s not just an outlier that last year a company listed 1,000 pounds of a chemical and this year it’s 1 million pounds,” Nelson said.

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