Did You Know That Manufacturers, and Some Companies, in the United States Must Submit a Toxic Release Inventory Report to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Each Year on July 1st?

This Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) report is vital because it can support and inform the decision-makers of companies, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, as well as the public each year.

Photo by Carlos “Grury” Santos

In the journey of becoming Anti racist, (yes, as a latinx and mix-indigenous/Dominicana, I have lots of decolonization, dismantling of white supremacy, and bias to acknowledge, heal, and to overall change behaviours), decolonizing the mind is not easy work. It’s very deep and personal. And at the same time, fighting for climate change as an environmentalist, writer,founder, single mom and women of color, is on another level. 

But it is necessary and painful work that I want to do and encourage you to do the same. We all have inner healing, and dismantle colonized mindset, oppressed, gentrified and discriminated traumas to let go and embrace new information and change. I know change is not easy, we are creatures that love comfort and safety-net. However, real life is not meant to be easy. 

We all must work and learn to find joy through the chaos. _AO

 Earth was not created and all its organisms living on it, without going through painful and destructive experiences. There was a lot that our planet endured and our ancestors had to go through and adapt to a fast changing environment to get to where we are now. It really is up to us, to do something about what was NOT done well in the past. We have to fix it, all of us. We must research, find the truth and educate ourselves from what we all know by now, was a lie. History doesn’t repeat itself, but intergenerational trauma induce and a cycle system built to benefit some and zero for the other does. 

Honestly, if 10 years ago, someone would have asked me if this was ever a possibility to do all of this… I probably would have said “Heck, no way”!

This is where we are in a worldwide pandemic

  • We are on the rise of coronavirus again, and those who are more affected are trying to promote already their idea of a vaccine (which estimated time for a proper vaccine to developed and certified tested, has to be until the end of the year of 2021), that most probably is just test-runs; and we the healthy (working outside and being exposed to the virus or the survivors of the virus) are the subjects . With no scientific or result evidence that they work, but yet, political leaders are using it as a beacon of”fake-hope” to keep the public calm. 
  • Children and teachers risking their lives for the sake of “education”, parents working are either from home, or out with the public where they are exposed to the Coronavirus because their jobs allow them to feed their families and keep the mental-slave economy going .
  • Some countries and cities are still on lockdown since 9 months ago. The world, is on fire while most of us are getting richer and others are trying to survive injustices by police brutality, racism, misogyny, patriarchy, white supremacist, homo/transphobia, a pandemic, climate change and mental health issues. 
  • Traditional media and those who are in power, are making it very clear and not so subtle anymore, for us to STOP questioning their actions, the status quo, the system that keeps them in power and their so called “laws and policies”; which we all know needs to be re-written and changed. As well, it is not really advertised or spoken of, the long term effects this vaccine can create on our bodies since this virus has no cure as of yet. And the long term effects after getting the virus and surviving is another job on top of everything else going on in the world. Listen to the stories of those who survived. Data and numbers cases of survivors who are still having long term symptoms, and probably prolonged health issues, which were not a problem before they got covid-19.
  • Seniors, Children, Indigenous, Women, Parents, Single parents, Blacks, LGBTQ+, Transwomen and all people of color are suffering and dying faster than our fellow white counterparts during this pandemic. Our white peers are enjoying the privilege that their ancestors left behind (white supremacy, misogyny, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, patriarchy, capitalist/colonial mindset, Zero sum game bs, rapist, child molesters, police brutality, discrimination, segregation, oppression… I can keep going but do your research “on whiteness ) for all the rest of us to deal. Now, 400 years later, we are demanding and fighting for justice, for our human rights and building equitable and sustainable systems that enhance our nations and our planet. With or without white people help. It will be amazing that our white peers become our allies. Because you do have the advantage of being born with the prefered skin color for now and use it for good; which is what we have been asking for decades. It feels good to benefit and profit from those who are suffering right now isn’t? Or educate yourself about systemic racism and white supremacy instead of experiencing it everyday? How was your vacation in the middle of a world pandemic? How were you treated in the hospital this year? Yep, check your privilege. Because Enough is enough! WE ARE TIRED! It’s exhausting trying to survive in a world designed Anti-black. Which is ridiculous. We are the by-product of multicultural and mixed races for many generations now. 
  • More jobs, the ability to rent a place in a safe neighbourhood, the right to get proper health care, financial assistance and mental health support are becoming less accessible than it was before for people whose skins are different than white. Those who denied this statement, please educate yourself, people are dying and we don’t have the time or the mental strength anymore to applicate to your wounded ego or feelings. 
  • There are those who are not able to find jobs or work right now; at the same time trying to survive themselves and provide for their loved ones with any means or ways they can. How are you surviving these days? 

Honestly, I say and write thank you every single day, because sometimes I know it is a privilege to meditate or yoga, or take a walk for a few minutes. Without feeling guilty of not being a slave working for an economy and system that’s designed to keep us in control and letting them get away with horrible things done to us, the consumers and Earth, our home. 

For now, let’s focus on those who need to be held accountable and how to start taking action. Tracking their actions and adding tax accordingly. It’s the fastest and most effective way to get to the core of most problems on this planet right now and making sure our human rights and health are not affected by their corrupted actions.

 We are paying and working, supporting companies and industries that are sick, toxic and twisted controlled by wealthy individuals. They also make sure they cover their tracks by paying enough to traditional media and politicians in order to keep the masses (us) distracted (using our psychological and intergenerational trauma to keep us oppressed and controlled. That’s why it is important to decolonize ourselves.Our minds can be easily manipulated if we don’t work on our mental strength too. ) from political bs, entertainment bs, news (keep us divided by lying and using racist and white supremacy tactics) and media power (them). Because the government and policy makers already knew, and always have known how bad climate change will be for all of us. Especially the most vulnerable and communities of people of color. They have the best scientists and research people on payroll that we pay them from our own taxes. They know the policies and regulations are mandatory for a reason. But humanity got distracted for the past 10–20 years. 

Here we are. World pandemic, fighting for human rights again! and now, dealing with climate change impacts all in the same year. 

2020 is not the problem, is what was already designed to benefit those who profit over inequality, and through the oppression of the most vulnerable communities. We see it through how children’s rights are being violated by ICE immigration and concentration camps. Humans rights violated in China, with genocide camps having muslims and other people locked up. The violations of Women’s rights in the ICE facilities recently reported through a whistleblowers (Thank god that you exist, I know is bad what you do because you get the most heat for speaking up and we are so grateful for your bravery. The universe always rewards the most stubborn souls. Especially those who are meant to show the light and truth. Integrity, compassion and honesty are vital these days. Don’t give up). 

Money can buy mostly everything. But I’m telling you there are three things it CAN’T: Integrity, our mindset and hope. These grow, change over time and for the right reasons, giving the right circumstances and environment. Just like a diamond. 

However, let’s focus on these corporations and large companies’ gadgets and how they need to report to the population their practises and their initiatives on lowering their environmental and health impact. It’s our basic human rights since we are the citizens paying to live in these countries that are supposed to keep us safe. Let’s start with:

The TRI Report method can ensure for all of us citizens of the country we reside in, that manufactures and industrial systems, are held accountable in the goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 1.5 degrees celsius for the next 10 years. We all know by now, due to Covid-19 and a worldwide pandemic, that certain areas and locations are more vulnerable and exposed to chemical hazards than others. That climate change impact hasn’t stopped because of the Coronavirus. We can clearly see it through many disasters and now, the fires in California.

Meanwhile, some manufacturers and facilities operations are still working during these times too. Due to the non-stop work of these facilities, creating a TRI report for the EPA is now more important than ever; to have to produce a TRI report will ensure that these companies and manufacturers take accountability for their actions. It will keep them aligned with the world goals: to reduce CO2 emissions, plus better management of their release of toxic waste into the land, water, and air.

Image credit: EPA (United States Environment and Protection agency)

Why is TRI important?

TRI tracks the management of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment. This report is very important because it must contain these manufactures and facilities year’s- worth of releases to air (fumes, smoke, dust), water, and in the form of hazardous chemical waste. These companies can maintain their credibility and make sure that their actions align with greener standards. They can also create a leadership-type role, which other companies can view as an example for their future environmental protection policies within their organizations. The positive movement by providing this TRI report can create better acquisition opportunities and better advancement for the organization as well as their internal affairs.

Now, there are three criterias that a facility must meet in the report:

  1. Specific industry sector e.g., manufacturing, mining, electric power generation). Note that federal facilities must report regardless of industry sector if they meet the other two criteria.
  2. Employs 10 or more full-time equivalent employees
  3. Manufactures, processes, or otherwise uses a TRI-listed chemical in quantities above threshold levels in a given year.

Sources: EPA.

The TRI program has expanded significantly since its inception in 1987. The APE agency has issued rules to roughly double the number of chemicals included in the TRI to approximately 767 individually listed chemicals and 33 chemical categories. This includes the PFAS chemicals added by the National Defense Authorization Act in December 2019. As a result, the types of chemicals covered by the TRI list of reportable toxic chemicals can vary from year to year.

In general, the Toxic Release Inventory requirements are to report chemicals covered by the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program; those that cause one or more of the following:

  • Cancer or other chronic human health effects
  • Significant adverse acute human health effects
  • Significant adverse environmental effects

image:EPA

Facilities that meet all of these criteria must:

  • Submit a TRI Form R for each TRI-listed chemical it manufactures, processes, or otherwise uses in quantities above the reporting threshold. (Note: Facilities may be eligible to submit the shorter Form A if they meet certain criteria. See the TRI Reporting Forms and Instructions for details.)
  • Submit each TRI form to both EPA and the state in which the facility is located (or to the appropriate tribe, if located in Indian country).
  • Submit each reporting form using TRI-MEweb, EPA’s online TRI reporting application.

If a facility does not exceed an activity threshold for a listed toxic chemical, or is not in a covered NAICS code, or does not have 10 or more full-time employee equivalents, it is not required to report under EPCRA Section 313. However, such facilities may still want to keep records of the amounts of listed toxic chemicals they manufacture, process, or otherwise use, in order to defend against any claim that they failed to report.

The parent regulation of TRI and the general goal of this parent regulation is in order to help with TRI reporting rules. In 1986, Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) to support and promote emergency planning and to provide the public with information about releases of toxic chemicals in their community. Section 313 of EPCRA established the Toxics Release Inventory. (source: EPA)

TRI is for industries primarily including manufacturing, metal and coal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste treatment. Most recently, the APE Agency has reduced the reporting thresholds for certain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals in order to be able to provide additional information to the public on these chemicals. (Source: Office of Disease Prevention and Health promotion) For example, Mobile sources emissions, which account for approximately 50% of all air toxics, as well as smaller sources such as gas stations and dry cleaners are not included in TRI.

As mentioned in the Climate Reality Training, “rebuilding with green jobs”, we must put people first, produce green jobs, create a zero carbon society, equity building, and take climate action. Express the need of policy and educational awareness by:

  • Putting people first.
  • Ceasing bail outs for fossil fuels.
  • Fostering a just transition to zero emissions.
  • Focusing on creating careers and economic opportunities in areas with most need.
  • Social, Human Rights, and environmental justice
  • Climate change solutions and greener spaces
  • Embrace companies and organizations that provide services in sustainability and they create equitable, clean and sustainable practices within their organization and brands that inspire their consumers and their communities to thrive and too.

In other words, TRI properly reporting and including EPA programs can make sure these facilities and companies are held accountable while we are all in the process of creating a greener and healthier sustainable planet. All of this on top of surviving a world pandemic, climate change, human rights and social justice movement.

In one of the training, we had to read an article and express our solutions for climate action. I loved the article:

9 REASONS TO HAVE CLIMATE HOPE IN 2020

For this exercise, I added a 10th reason to have hope for the climate, and something I’ll be potentially presenting in order to create more awareness and hold big polluters accountable for their actions each year here in Montreal, and in the rest of Canada.

I don’t live in the US, but their EPA program and their TRI mandatory report is something I believe is important to enforce and create more awareness. The need to educate more the YOUTH about these programs, climate change, anti-racism, anti-white supremacy, living more sustainability and give them the tools to also educate their peers and families is vital. I’ll definitely be contributing through writing, art and sharing more educational content about climate change and social justice through our channels and podcast episodes, on why Montreal, Quebec, or Canada doesn’t require this report to be mandatory, yet in the USA is vital for obvious reasons of course…

Either way, we will be going into more depth about climate change solution, sharing the story of other companies doing the work, sustainability, why is important to build equitable sustainable and cleaner energy systems, Greener cities, build and amplifying Black and BIPOC Wealth in all systems (education, media, health facilities,agriculture, government, justice system,etc) . It is necessary to keep in check or create programs that track big corporations and manufactures that need to be held accountable for their toxic waste release into land, water and our air in areas of minority and most vulnerable communities around the world.

We want change, and it starts from those who think they have it. The “power to the people” is still very valid and freedom of speech was created in order to defy those in power who we know and clearly can see are not good for our nations and our planet. Our mixed races are beautiful magic and it is time for all of us to embrace our diversity, uniqueness and unconscious inner strength as we unite forces to do what’s right for our planet and ourself. 

*Remember we are still raising money for Lebanon, Beirut. Here is why.

Here is the link: https://gf.me/u/ynwzwz (Donate and share)

Thank you for your support!

Love and Light,

_AO.

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Edited by Emma P❤

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Where are we going next? Podcast @your_story_matters and bringing solutions with other change makers, leaders plus amplifying those who are voiceless. Creativity for intergenerational justice unleashed. Stay tuned!

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Angie Olivo