New EPA Toxics Release Inventory Data Show Facilities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Continue to Reduce Releases of Certain Toxic Chemicals
2020 Analysis Includes New Features to Make Data More Accessible to Communities
NEW YORK - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its 2020 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, which shows that companies that manage chemicals continue to make progress in preventing pollution and reducing chemical releases into the environment. The report shows total on-site releases of TRI chemicals in Puerto Rico decreased by 39%, from 4.1 million pounds to 2.5 million pounds, and reported releases of TRI chemicals to air in the U.S. Virgin Islands decreased by 44%, from approximately 268,400 pounds to approximately 149,000 pounds. Nationwide, total releases of TRI chemicals decreased by 10 percent.
This 2020 Analysis includes enhancements to make data more useful and accessible to communities, including communities with environmental justice concerns. EPA has added demographic information to the “Where You Live” mapping tool, making it easy to overlay maps of facility locations with maps of overburdened and vulnerable communities. Community groups, policymakers, and other stakeholders can use this information to identify potential exposures to air and water pollution, better understand which communities are experiencing a disproportionate pollution burden and take action at the local level.
To assist communities with reducing pollution, EPA is offering $23 million in grant funding opportunities for states and Tribes to develop and provide businesses with information, training, and tools to help them adopt pollution prevention (P2) practices. For the first time, approximately $14 million in grant funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is available with no cost-sharing or matching requirement, increasing access to funding for all communities. These grants are also a critical component of the President’s Justice40 initiative by providing a meaningful benefit to communities impacted by legacy pollution issues. According to this initiative, EPA will administer this program to ensure at least 40% of the benefits are delivered to underserved communities.
"For decades, the TRI has provided important information about chemical releases in communities and what companies are doing to reduce and prevent those releases. While this data is self-reported and can fluctuate at times, there is a clear pattern emerging of a long-term reduction in emitting potentially harmful substances in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands," said Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. "It is encouraging to see newly updated features in the TRI report that make this already valuable resource more accessible to communities, allowing them to interact and engage with information that directly links to their health and wellbeing."
In 2020, 95 percent of the TRI chemical waste managed at facilities in Region 2, which includes Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, New York and New Jersey, was not released into the environment and was instead managed using preferred practices such as recycling, energy recovery, and treatment. This is 6 percent higher than the national average.
Facilities in the region reported releasing 31.4 million pounds of TRI chemicals, a 7.2 million pounds (19 %) decrease from 2019. From 2011 to 2020, releases in Region 2 decreased by 8.7 million pounds (22%), driven by reduced releases from chemical manufacturing facilities, petroleum product manufacturing facilities, and electric utilities. For 2020, 6 percent of Region 2 facilities reported implementing new source reduction activities. The electrical equipment manufacturing sector was among the sectors with the highest source reduction reporting rates.
In addition to the new community mapping tools, the National Analysis also includes a new map in the data visualization dashboard that displays international transfers of chemical waste by facilities in each state. Additionally, the National Analysis includes a new profile of the cement manufacturing sector and the addition of greenhouse gas reporting information in certain sector profiles. As a result of these updates, users can track greenhouse gas emissions for electric utilities, chemical manufacturing, cement manufacturing, and other sectors. This section will also include information on the benefits of source reduction in these industries.
To see the 2020 TRI Factsheet for Puerto Rico, click here.
To see the 2020 TRI Factsheet for the Virgin Islands, click here.
To access the 2020 TRI National Analysis, including local data and analyses, visit www.epa.gov/trinationalanalysis.
Information on facility efforts to reduce TRI chemical releases is available at www.epa.gov/tri/p2.
Thanks to the passage of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986, which created EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program, and the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, which expanded the program, Americans have a greater awareness of how chemicals are being managed in their communities. Today, more than 21,000 facilities report annually on over 800 chemicals they release into the environment or otherwise manage as waste. EPA, states, and tribes receive TRI data from facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste management.
For information in Spanish on the Toxic Release inventory, please visit: https://espanol.epa.gov/tri.