Release 96-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           CONTACT: Daven Oswalt
July 25, 1996                                                                                           (916) 327-6247
                                                                                                                Jerry Martin/Allan Hirsch                                                                                                                 (916) 322-2990

Air Resources Board Streamlines Toxic "Hot Spots" Reporting Requirements

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board (ARB) today approved a streamlining of its seven-year-old Air Toxics "Hot Spots" program that will eliminate toxic-emission reporting requirements for approximately 2,100 California facilities that pose little or no risk to human health. The streamlining will enable the program to focus its resources on those facilities with toxic emissions that pose a relatively greater health risk.

        "The Hot Spots program has accomplished its main goal -- it has given California one of the most comprehensive databases of toxic emissions in the United States," said ARB Chairman John D. Dunlap.

        "This program is moving into a new stage. Now that we have toxic-emissions data for more than 5,000 California facilities, it makes little sense to require low-risk facilities to meet reporting requirements intended for higher-risk facilities. We will still require the highest-risk facilities to meet the same reporting requirements as before and take reasonable steps to reduce their impact on surrounding communities," Dunlap said.

        The Legislature in 1987 directed ARB to develop a statewide inventory of toxic emissions. ARB's toxic-emission reporting requirements took effect in 1989. ARB works with local air districts and Cal/EPA's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to compile emissions data from individual facilities and assess health risks posed by those emissions. Facilities deemed to pose the highest health risks must submit and implement risk-reduction plans. Facilities pay fees to cover the program's costs.

        In addition to exempting approximately 2,100 low-risk facilities from future toxic-emission reporting, the Board on Thursday also made reporting requirements more flexible for approximately 2,300 intermediate-risk facilities and approximately 745 high-risk facilities. However, high-risk facilities will continue to make full periodic reports on their toxic emissions, and intermediate-risk facilities still must disclose any operational changes that could affect toxic emissions.

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