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U.S. EPA ANNOUNCES LATEST DATA ON TOXIC RELEASES INTO ENVIRONMENT
Release Date: 5/20/1997
Contact Information: Paula Bruin, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1587
(San Francisco)--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that 1995 industrial releases of toxic chemicals into the nation's environment declined by nearly five percent from 1994 despite the addition of nearly 300 new chemicals to the annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report. The latest TRI data reflects a continued downward trend. Since the community right-to-know program began in 1988, reported releases of pollution into communities have declined by 46 percent.
Nationwide, industrial releases of pollution decreased from 1.75 billion pounds in 1994 to 1.66 billion pounds in 1995. The new chemicals, which doubled the number of chemicals for which reports are required, accounted for 237.7 million pounds or 10 percent of the reported releases of toxic chemicals in 1995 into air, land or water.
By requiring facilities to monitor toxic chemical inputs, calculate releases, track off-site transfers, and publicly reveal amounts of toxic chemicals released, the program has been credited with stimulating industry to drastically reduce their emissions of toxic chemicals. In the western region, five-year totals for the State of California detail an overall decrease in releases of toxic chemicals of 52 percent, in Arizona 43 percent, in Hawaii 49 percent and Nevada 4 percent.
"TRI is a powerful tool for community groups and citizens in understanding the sources of toxic chemicals in their communities," said Felicia Marcus, western regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Residents have a right to know what is being released into the air, land, and water in their communities."
Regional TRI figures revealed:
* California ranked 19th nationwide in the amount of toxic chemicals emitted. This is the same position the State held the previous year. 1,478 facilities submitted reports detailing 42.7 million lbs. of toxic chemicals releases, compared to 45.6 million lbs. of releases during 1994.
The top facilities for releases in California were: Mountain Pass Operation (Unocal), in Mountain Pass reporting 2.1 million lbs.: Louisiana-Pacific Corp., in Samoa reporting 1.7 million lbs.; and Foamex International Inc., in Orange reporting 1.6 million lbs.
* Arizona ranked 22nd nationwide in the amount of toxic chemicals emitted. The State ranked 24th the previous year. One-hundred-eighty-seven facilities submitted reports detailing 35.8 million lbs. of toxic chemical releases, compared to 31.5 million lbs. of releases during 1994.
The top facilities for releases in Arizona were: Asarco Inc., in Hayden reporting 18.3 million lbs.; Cyprus Miami Mining Corp., in Claypool reporting 10.9 million lbs.; and Stone Container Corp., in Snowflake reporting 2.2 million lbs..
* Nevada ranked 45th nationwide in the amount of toxic chemicals emitted. This is the same position the State held the previous year. Thirty-six facilities submitted reports detailing 3.6 million lbs. of toxic chemicals releases, compared to 3.3 million lbs. of releases during 1994.
The top facilities for releases in Nevada were: Kerr-Mcgee Chemical Corp., in Henderson reporting 2.0 million lbs.; R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., in Reno reporting 450,930 lbs.; and Coastal Chemical Inc., in Battle Mountain reporting 242,710 lbs..
* Hawaii ranked 52nd nationwide in the amount of toxic chemicals emitted. The State ranked 51st the previous year. Sixteen facilities submitted reports detailing 469,968 lbs. of toxic chemicals releases, compared to 715,825 lbs. of releases during 1994. Chevron Products Co., in Kapolei reporting 246,900 lbs.; Reynolds Metals Co., in Kapolei reported 139,183 lbs.; and the U.S. Navy, in Pearl Harbor reported 32,250 lbs. EPA's state release ranking includes American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Since 1988, the Toxic Release Inventory program has required more than 20,000 manufacturing facilities across the country to submit annual reports each July 1 on the quantity of toxic chemicals they released during the previous calendar year. Annual TRI figures allow U.S. EPA, state and local regulatory agencies, and the public to monitor toxic chemical releases to air, land, water. It also gives information on off-site transfers of toxic chemicals and pollution prevention activities such as recycling and energy recovery.
"With the knowledge of toxic chemical releases to air, land, and water, many community groups have successfully negotiated with facilities in their neighborhoods to reduce or eliminate usage of these dangerous chemicals. Agencies have the opportunity to use the information to assess overall progress in achieving environmental goals and targeting pollution reduction programs," said Marcus.
The Toxics Release Inventory data are available through printed material, CD-ROMs, and on-line services. The TRI database can be accessed on the World Wide Web through
ENVIROFACTS on U.S. EPA's Homepage (https://www.epa.gov/enviro) and a site
operated by a non-profit organization called the Right-to-Know Network (http://rtk.net). A copy of EPA's annual Toxic Release Inventory Public Data Release and accompanying State Fact Sheets can be ordered free of charge by contacting EPA's EPCRA Hotline number at 1-800-424-9346.