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Release Date: 06/26/1996
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, Press Office; (617) 918-1064

Boston -- Connecticut's manufacturers reduced the amount of toxics released into the air, water and land by more than two-thirds -- 69% -- between 1988 and 1994, according to data released today by Vice President Al Gore. The improved environmental performance of Connecticut's manufacturing facilities represents a reduction of 18% over the previous year, far out-pacing the 8.5% rate of improvement nationally.

"We've gotten two out of every three pounds of toxic chemicals out of the New England environment in the last eight years," said John P. DeVillars, EPA's administrator for New England. "That's huge progress -- greater than any other region in America. And it's a great credit to New England's companies and those who regulate them. But even as we celebrate dramatic reductions, we know that we will have a healthier population and a stronger economy by staying the course."

"The Clinton-Gore administration has made the public's right to know about pollution in every community a top priority," DeVillars added, "and we've made significant strides in that regard -- both in terms of who has to report their pollution and what types of toxics they're required to tell the public about. In 1994, the President nearly doubled the number of chemicals on the right-to- know list to more than 650. And during this administration, federal facilities, for the first time, have also had to report their release of toxics to the environment. The Clinton-Gore administration and EPA are empowering communities to hold industry and government accountable for environmental and public health protection."

The amount of toxic pollutants reported by Connecticut's manufacturers to EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) declined from 12,345,085 pounds in 1993 to 10,148,215 pounds in 1994. In 1988, when the inventory first came into use, Connecticut manufacturers released 32,538,115 pounds of toxics into the environment. Connecticut's reduction of 69%, as well as the New England-wide drop of 67%, of toxic releases since 1988 compares favorably to the national reduction of 44% over the same period.

"These data underscore the fact that EPA and state agencies can reap great environmental and public health benefits by encouraging responsible companies to prevent pollution while enforcing strenuously against those who disobey the law," DeVillars added. "Despite our continued progress, this inventory also reminds us that we are still releasing tens of millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into our environment each year."

In Connecticut, 74% of toxic wastes were recycled, 4% were used for energy recovery, 16% were treated, and 6% were released in 1994, according to the TRI.

Manufacturers with ten or more employees are required to inform the public of their estimated releases and transfers of toxic chemicals. In 1994, those companies were required to disclose information on 343 chemicals; today, that figure is over 650. EPA also released the names of the top ten facilities in terms of their release of toxic chemicals for Connecticut.

The reporting of data to the Toxics Release Inventory is required under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, passed in 1986. The TRI provides the amount, location and type of release to the environment -- whether a pollutant is emitted into the air, discharged into the water, or released onto the land. It also includes information on waste shipped off-site for disposal or further treatment. The TRI has been credited with arming communities with valuable knowledge and encouraging facilities to reduce their releases of toxic chemicals into the environment through source reduction, or pollution prevention, measures.

TRI information is easily accessible to the news media and to the public. Information is available on-line, in hard copy and in a variety of computer formats, including CD-ROM. For copies or more information, the public is encouraged to call EPA's toll-free Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Information Hotline at 1(800) 424-9346.