Executive Order 12856 requires federal agency compliance with the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 and the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990 and establishes federal agency goals and compliance date requirements. Initially, federal agencies were excluded from EPCRA because of the Standard Industrial Code applicability clause. However, industrial compliance was required when the Act became effective. The 1984 release of methyl isocyanate from an industrial plant in Bhopal, India, which killed a large number of people, and a later similar release of the same chemical at Institute, WV, in which no one was killed, led to the passage of EPCRA.

For each agency facility, the use of 10,000 or more lbs per year of a listed toxic chemical requires compliance and the filing of reports.

In addition to the use reporting threshold criterion, industry may meet the reporting threshold through other specified criteria.