2004 TRI Data Shows Increase In Water Pollution

For Immediate Release

DENVER—Toxic releases to U.S. waterways increased by 10% between 2003 and 2004, pollution, according to Environment Colorado’s analysis of Toxics Release Inventory data released today. In total, U.S. facilities released more than 4.25 billion pounds of toxic chemicals to air, water, and land in 2004, an overall decrease from 2003.

“The good news is that overall decreases show that the TRI program works,” said Matt Garrington, Field Organizer for Environment Colorado. “But the increase in toxic water pollution shows that, now more than ever, Congress must act to pass the Clean Water Restoration Act, and protect all U.S. waterways.”

Environment Colorado examined the TRI data for increases or decreases in pollution from 2003 to 2004. Here in Colorado, pollution increased from 2003 to 2004 by 8%.

“Unfortunately, this may be one of the last years when the public gets a complete picture of toxic pollution,” said Garrington. “If EPA’s proposal to gut the program moves forward, the public won’t receive this kind of detailed local information in the future.”

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson proposed changes to the Toxics Release Inventory Program (TRI) in October 2005 that will significantly decrease the information that the public and state and local officials have about harmful chemicals released into water, air, and land. These changes to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) would be three-fold:
• A rule to propose that companies be allowed to release ten times as much pollution before they are required to report their releases;
• A rule that would allow companies to withhold information about some of the most dangerous chemicals, such as lead and mercury;
• A notification to Congress that Administrator Johnson intends to release a rule next fall to change the frequency of reporting to the program from every year to every other year.

EPA received more than 100,000 public comments on its proposed rule, and initial analysis shows that the vast majority oppose the changes.

The TRI program is a pollution disclosure program. Since 1987, companies have been required to report toxic releases to air, land, and water, as well as toxic waste that is treated, burned, recycled, or disposed of. Approximately 26,000 industrial facilities report information about any of the 650 chemicals in the program.

The Toxics Release Inventory has been credited with a wide range of successes. Since the TRI program began, disposals or releases of the original 299 chemicals tracked have dropped 57% percent. An Environment Colorado Research and Policy Fund analysis showed that releases of chemicals linked to health effects have decreased as well. Between 1995 and 2000, releases to air and water of chemicals known to cause cancer declined by 41 percent.

More than 230 organizations, including environmental groups, public health groups, religious organizations, investment groups, and professors have opposed these changes. In addition, twelve Attorneys General, state legislators and state regulators from across the country have weighed in to oppose these changes.

“Environment Colorado calls on the Colorado congressional delegation to defend this right-to-know program,” said Garrington. “EPA is on the wrong track, and Congress must redirect their attention toward reducing pollution and protecting public health.”

TRI On-site and Off-site Releases (in pounds), All Industries, All Chemicals, By State

Rank (% Change)

State

Total On- and Off-site Disposal or Other Releases (2003)

Total On- and Off-site Disposal or Other Releases (2004)

% Change

14

Alabama

116,147,277

122,898,912

5.8%

33

Alaska

539,644,265

512,278,274

-5.1%

5

Arizona

48,154,445

56,616,157

17.6%

4

Arkansas

40,475,567

49,458,661

22.2%

46

California

57,706,319

46,577,651

-19.3%

10

Colorado

22,494,608

24,293,017

8.0%

36

Connecticut

5,356,715

5,040,897

-5.9%

16

Delaware

13,555,253

14,170,154

4.5%

47

District of Columbia

13,788

10,547

-23.5%

28

Florida

126,135,669

123,354,510

-2.2%

34

Georgia

125,591,048

118,689,041

-5.5%

22

Hawaii

3,167,748

3,168,321

0.0%

17

Idaho

61,524,493

64,095,438

4.2%

19

Illinois

131,778,756

135,002,481

2.4%

18

Indiana

233,320,757

239,410,327

2.6%

6

Iowa

37,428,556

43,070,483

15.1%

21

Kansas

25,439,979

25,789,941

1.4%

15

Kentucky

90,976,040

95,918,699

5.4%

12

Louisiana

125,254,276

132,936,323

6.1%

7

Maine

9,315,305

10,540,173

13.1%

32

Maryland

45,387,893

43,627,644

-3.9%

23

Massachusetts

8,824,178

8,784,065

-0.5%

35

Michigan

104,202,452

98,265,413

-5.7%

43

Minnesota

31,215,583

26,163,130

-16.2%

9

Mississippi

66,693,022

73,743,468

10.6%

3

Missouri

102,370,760

127,954,937

25.0%

2

Montana

45,707,370

61,090,768

33.7%

37

Nebraska

41,442,248

38,814,754

-6.3%

50

Nevada

402,473,695

269,304,058

-33.1%

41

New Hampshire

5,813,380

5,249,370

-9.7%

38

New Jersey

22,823,576

21,281,420

-6.8%

51

New Mexico

17,889,536

10,701,908

-40.2%

31

New York

43,782,731

42,408,344

-3.1%

20

North Carolina

131,604,901

133,457,534

1.4%

26

North Dakota

23,340,605

22,929,009

-1.8%

27

Ohio

250,091,745

244,829,697

-2.1%

24

Oklahoma

29,831,315

29,552,863

-0.9%

29

Oregon

40,681,402

39,747,758

-2.3%

30

Pennsylvania

165,657,349

160,612,450

-3.0%

48

Rhode Island

790,272

598,933

-24.2%

39

South Carolina

87,432,611

80,827,375

-7.6%

45

South Dakota

10,299,264

8,546,378

-17.0%

8

Tennessee

141,790,739

157,770,452

11.3%

13

Texas

261,791,365

277,538,322

6.0%

49

Utah

243,482,444

167,837,425

-31.1%

11

Vermont

342,839

364,985

6.5%

25

Virginia

72,736,435

71,833,490

-1.2%

1

Washington

22,552,909

32,798,429

45.4%

42

West Virginia

101,664,346

91,597,010

-9.9%

40

Wisconsin

49,862,825

46,008,984

-7.7%

44

Wyoming

19,264,703

16,132,036

-16.3%

 
Total*

4,415,704,240

4,244,378,005

-3.9%

 
 
 
 
 

* Includes American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands