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Annual Report of Toxic Releases Ranks Texas First, Louisiana Second

Release Date: 5/13/1999
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

    Texas facilities continue to lead the nation with more than 260 million pounds in total releases in 1997 and Louisiana again ranks second with 186 million pounds, according to the latest Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) today.

     "This annual report was created to provide American families the information they need to make informed decisions about environmental issues affecting their neighborhoods. It has also served as an impetus for industries to reduce their chemical releases," EPA Regional Administrator Gregg Cooke said.

     Only two of the five states in EPA's Region 6 reported decreases in toxic releases. Even with those decreases, they moved up in the national ranking, underscoring that other states had larger decreases.

     The 14 percent reduction in total releases reported by Texas facilities did not affect the state's first-place ranking for total releases. The state led the nation in several categories of toxic

releases: more than 240 million pounds of on-site releases, nearly 109 million pounds of on-site air emissions, and nearly 90 million pounds injected underground.

     In Louisiana toxic releases continue to increase. Facilities reported an almost 5 percent increase in total releases since 1995. While air emissions have been reduced, surface water discharges have increased. Louisiana leads the nation with 46.9 million pounds of toxic chemicals discharged to surface water in 1997. The state also ranks second in underground injection of toxic substances with nearly 55 million pounds.

      In Arkansas a 58 percent increase in reported releases vaulted the state from 24th to 16th in the national rankings. Such a trend raises concern.

     Although New Mexico's total releases have dropped 24 percent since 1995, the state moved up seven places to 25th place in the national ranking. New Mexico facilities reported the second largest total of on-site land releases with 31.6 million pounds.

     In Oklahoma, a decrease in reported air emissions is largely responsible for the state's more than 17 percent reduction in toxic releases since 1995. However, the state continues to rank 30th nationally in overall releases.

     The 1997 TRI report contains an error in Oklahoma's and Louisiana's state fact sheets that could not be corrected before the printing deadline. On the sheet, Oklahoma is incorrectly ranked eighth in the nation for total production-related waste. Corrected data show that Oklahoma actually ranks 32nd among the 50 states. A footnote explains that the error is due to a 700-million- pound reporting mistake by an Ardmore refinery. In Geismar, La., the Shell Chemical Co. over reported on-site energy recovery by about 180 million pounds. This mistake did not affect Louisiana's ranking.

     Individual manufacturing, processing and federal facilities nationwide are required to submit annual reports listing the amounts of specific chemicals released into the air, land and water. The list of reportable chemicals includes more than 660 specific chemicals and 28 chemical categories. This list has changed from time to time to reflect new research into the health effects of exposure to specific chemicals. The core chemicals are those which have neither been deleted nor added since the original 1988 data and are used for comparisons among annual reports.

     After verifying the data, it is compiled and made available to the public. This provides a report card of the progress being made in reducing the industrial release of toxic chemicals to states, industries and citizens so they can work together for further reductions.

     TRI information is available in public libraries, at the TRI hotline at 1-800-424-9346, or online at the following Internet addresses:

     TRI Home Page:

     TRI data: http:

     TRI data in a variety of formats:  

     Additional Right to Know information and databases: