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

Region 8 Continues to Make Significant Reductions in TRI Releases

03/05/2019
Contact Information: 
Richard Mylott (mylott.richard@epa.gov)
303-312-6654

DENVER — 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.

Data on toxic chemical releases in EPA’s Region 8 exemplify many of the trends identified in the EPA’s 2017 National Analysis. For example, 82 chemical manufacturing facilities in Region 8 reported a 13 percent decrease of total releases of TRI chemicals from 2016 to 2017. This sector also reported a 36 percent reduction (4.4. million pounds) in releases of TRI chemicals to air. The chemical manufacturing sector is the second largest TRI-reporting sector in Region 8 with 29 facilities in Colorado, 18 in South Dakota, 16 in Utah, 7 in Montana, 6 in North Dakota, and 6 in Wyoming.

Region 8 facilities also continue to make significant reductions in toxic chemical releases through pollution prevention. Region 8 facilities implemented more than 100 pollution prevention activities throughout 2017, including several that reduced or eliminated releases of TRI chemicals. For example, TTM Technologies’ facility in Logan, Utah reported changing to a plating process that results in less release of formic acid. The facility’s formic acid releases in 2017 were 89 percent lower than they were in 2016.

“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.”

“Data on toxic releases in Region 8 continue to reflect the efforts of businesses to reduce pollution while remaining economically competitive,” said EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento. “I encourage all to explore the TRI as a resource and tool to learn more about how chemicals are used and handled in our communities.”

“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.

“I was delighted to read the statistics of how the air quality is improving for our citizens in Region 8. It is great to see what can happen when the states and the EPA work together,” said Jefferson County, Colorado Commissioner Libby Szabo.

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