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TRI Data show improved environmental performance by manufacturing sector as economy grows

Pacific Southwest Region shows continued downward trend in releases of chemicals to air and water

03/05/2019
Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (calvino.maria@epa.gov)
415-972-3512

SAN FRANCISCO (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. Across the Pacific Southwest Region, the total amount of production-related waste of TRI chemicals reported for 2017 decreased by 6 percent over the previous year, and overall quantities of TRI chemicals released to air and water decreased 11 and 20 percent, respectively.

Many sectors in the region reduced their air releases since 2016, such as the nonmetallic mineral products sector which reduced air releases by 42 percent, the transportation equipment sector which reduced air releases by 32 percent, and the electric utilities which reduced air releases by 6 percent.

Metal mining continues to be the industry with the greatest TRI chemical releases in the region, accounting for 82 percent of the region’s total releases during 2017. More than 99 percent of the metal mining sector’s releases were in the form of on-site land disposal.

“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,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

“Over 1,600 facilities in the Pacific Southwest region submitted data to EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory. The TRI is a valuable resource for citizens and government alike. Safe communities depend on well-informed citizens,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker.

“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 conscientious efforts by industry to reduce their waste and pollution show that our economy, and manufacturing in particular, can continue to grow while at the same time protecting our environment. TRI provides a valuable resource to those who wish to make greater commitments to reduce pollution and make our communities a better place for all,” said Orange County Board of Supervisors Vice-Chair Michelle Steel.

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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