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TRI Data Show Improved Environmental Performance by Manufacturing Sector as Economy Grows

Data from EPA Great Lakes Region Shows Continued Reductions in Releases of TRI Chemicals

03/05/2019
Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (arcaute.francisco@epa.gov)
312-886-7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release   No. 19-OPA04

TRI Data Show Improved Environmental Performance by Manufacturing Sector as Economy Grows

Data from EPA Great Lakes Region Shows Continued Reductions in Releases of TRI Chemicals

CHICAGO (March 5, 2019) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2017 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis. Results of this publicly available database show that since 2007, releases of TRI chemicals in the U.S. manufacturing sector have declined while the economy has grown. Industrial facilities have reduced releases of TRI chemicals by taking action to prevent pollution. In Region 5, air emissions are down 62 percent since 2007, mainly driven by the electric utility sector with an 86 percent reduction, and the chemical manufacturing sector with a 38 percent reduction.

Although overall releases in Region 5 were up 7 percent for 2017, they are down by almost 40 percent from 2007. The increased releases in Region 5 during 2017 are due to increased off-site transfers of waste for disposal and on-site land disposal. The increased releases are primarily due to increases from the hazardous waste sector.

“By communicating TRI data in a clear and consistent manner, EPA is utilizing the power of transparency to notify the public of important public health information and simultaneously encourage industry to improve environmental outcomes,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The latest TRI analysis confirms that under President Trump the U.S. continues to improve its air quality while growing its economy.”

“Today’s report shows that it is possible for American industry to be both good stewards of the environment and good for the economy,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp. “Through our commitment of providing regulatory certainty and working together with our industry partners, we can promote a strong and robust economy, while preventing environmental harm.”

“This year’s TRI results give proof that economic growth and an improved environment can go hand in hand. For over 30 years, TRI has given the public the right-to-know about chemical releases in their neighborhoods and showed what companies are doing to reduce and prevent those releases. That commitment continues. Our focus today is making the TRI website more accessible, interactive and engaging to the public,” said EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn.

“The 10-year trend of TRI emissions reductions demonstrates that we can have more manufacturing jobs, business growth, and a cleaner environment,” said Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson.

This year’s National Analysis increases the transparency of the TRI database. New features include a new graphic on innovative use of green chemistry by industry, profiles of the paints and coatings manufacturing and other sectors, and an expanded illustration of the role of TRI data in chemical risk evaluations.

The Analysis showcases industry practices to manage waste and reduce pollution at nearly 22,000 facilities that submitted TRI data for calendar year 2017. EPA encourages facilities to learn from their counterparts’ best practices and adopt additional methods for reducing pollution.

In addition, today EPA is holding virtual press conferences in all 10 EPA Regions to highlight regional trends and engage with local communities. EPA Administrator Wheeler joined EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez in New York City to discuss this year’s data and analysis.

2017 Highlights

  • Air releases of TRI chemicals declined by 11 million pounds in 2017, driven by reductions in air releases at chemical manufacturing facilities. Since 2007, air releases of TRI-listed chemicals fell 57 percent at industrial facilities submitting data to the program. Electric utilities are responsible for the greatest decreases in air releases since 2007, but nearly all industrial sectors have reduced their air releases over that time.

  • 87 percent of the nearly 31 billion pounds of TRI chemical waste was prevented from being released into the environment due to practices such as recycling, energy recovery, and treatment.

  • Industrial facilities also reported implementing nearly 4,000 new source reduction activities that eliminated or reduced the creation of chemical waste

Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), covered facilities must report their annual releases of TRI chemicals for the prior calendar year to EPA by July 1. EPA, states and tribes receive TRI data from facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, mining, electric utilities and commercial hazardous waste management. The Pollution Prevention Act also requires facilities to submit information on pollution prevention and other waste management activities of TRI chemicals.

To access the 2017 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

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