New EPA Toxics Release Inventory Report Shows Decline in Certain Toxic Chemicals, Makes Data More Accessible to Nevadans
New data show increased pollution prevention at facilities nationwide
NEVADA (March 3, 2022) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2020 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis. Through the analysis presented, companies managing chemicals continue to make progress in preventing pollution and reducing chemical releases into the environment. The report reveals that between 2019 and 2020 total releases of TRI chemicals nationwide decreased by 10 percent.
This 2020 Analysis includes enhancements to make data more useful and accessible to communities in Nevada and across the U.S., 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.
“Today’s announcement shows continued improvement in Nevada communities’ ability to access crucial data, “said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “The TRI report also highlights the need for EPA and our Nevada partners to continue working together as stewards of the environment and protectors of public health.”
“The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection implements state laws and regulations that require all operating Nevada mines to comply with rigorous permitting, monitoring, and inspection standards to protect the environment and public health,” said Nevada Division of Environmental Protection Administrator Greg Lovato. “Importantly, it is well understood that TRI data alone do not indicate whether the environment or the public is exposed to any of the listed chemicals. In Nevada, safe management practices are required and enforced for all aspects of the engineering design, permitting, and construction of ore and waste rock facilities to ensure strong protection of Nevada’s natural resources and communities.”
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/matching requirement, increasing access to funding for all communities. These grants also represent a critical component of the President’s Justice40 initiative by providing a meaningful benefit to communities impacted by legacy pollution issues. EPA will ensure that at least 40 percent of the benefits are delivered to underserved communities by administering this program in accordance with Justice 40.
In 2020, facilities in the nation’s Pacific Southwest region, which includes Nevada, managed 916 million pounds of production-related waste, and released or otherwise disposed of 555 million pounds. Metal mines drive the quantity of chemical waste managed and released in the region. At metal mines, changes in production volumes and in the chemical composition of the extracted ore can vary substantially from year to year, impacting waste quantities reported to TRI and accounting for annual fluctuations in release quantities. Excluding the metal mining sector, releases in the region decreased by 25 percent since 2011. For 2020, 6 percent of the region‘s facilities reported implementing new source reduction activities.
EPA provides additional information on the TRI website to help explain the data reported by the metal mining sector. The website features an interactive graphic—which was developed with input from stakeholders—explaining how metal mines operate, and generally how and where releases of TRI-listed chemicals happen. For Nevada, 26 of the 142 reporting facilities in 2020 were mining operations which totaled nearly 97 percent of all its TRI releases .
In addition to the new “Where You Live” community mapping tools, the TRI National Analysis also includes a new map in the data visualization dashboard that displays international transfers of chemical waste by facilities in each state. Users will also be able to track greenhouse gas emissions for electric utilities, chemical manufacturing, cement manufacturing, and other sectors.
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.