News | March 6, 2019

TRI Data Show Improved Environmental Performance By Manufacturing Sector As Economy Grows

Facilities in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Continue to Reduce Releases of Toxic Chemicals

Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Regional Administrator Pete Lopez released the Agency’s 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.

From 2016 to 2017, there was a six percent decrease in the release of toxic chemicals, or “TRI chemicals,” including reductions in the amount of chemicals going into the air and water, in EPA’s Region 2. This reduction is the continuation of a longer-term trend where the releases of TRI chemicals in the region have decreased by nearly 60 percent since 2007. The chemical manufacturing sector is the largest sector in the region in terms of both the number of facilities reporting to TRI and releases reported. This sector contributed to the region’s declining releases, including reductions in chemical manufacturing facilities’ air releases of 10 percent since 2016 and of 71 percent since 2007.

“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.”

“Since 2007, the chemical manufacturing sector in Region 2 has reduced the total quantity of toxics released into our air, water and land. This trend positively impacts our future and reinforces our role as a steward who protects the environment for the benefit of our children,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez.

“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.

“As a local municipality along an international waterway – the Niagara River -- that has been negatively impacted from an environmental standpoint by industrial users over the last 50-years, the TRI is a critical tool for not only us, but also for the public, to help determine what is actually going on in our town and what steps we need to take," said Joseph H. Emminger, Tonawanda, New York, Town Supervisor.

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.

SOURCE: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)