Environmental regulations on reporting of hazardous chemical releases have proven to be very complex and confusing. An effort by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the author has been undertaken to provide the oil and gas industry concise and straightforward guidance on which releases are reportable to which government agencies. This paper addresses the various federal reporting requirements addressed in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA); the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), commonly referred to as SARA Title III; and the Clean Water Act (CWA).
This paper covers the reporting of what most in industry consider emergency or incidental releases. These are releases which are typically unplanned and not covered by a permit issued by a government agency. The paper does not address state and local requirements which, in many cases, may be more stringent.
A series of flowcharts (Figures #1 – #7) have been developed to provide guidance on release reporting. The flowcharts are designed to help the user make accurate reporting decisions in an efficient manner.