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Speeches By EPA Administrator

 

Release of Toxics Release Inventory Data- Washington, DC

05/20/1997
                 Carol M. Browner, Administrator
              U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


                  Remarks Prepared for Delivery
            Release of Toxics Release Inventory Data
                         Washington, DC
                          May 20, 1997


     Welcome and thank you for coming.  I am delighted to be here to present the 9th annual release of the Toxics Release Inventory data.

     Essentially, this report contains detailed information about chemicals that are released into the environment by industrial facilities -- zip-code by zip-code.

     The data we are releasing today is for the year 1995.  It marks the first time the report has ncluded information on nearly 300 chemicals that were added the previous year to the list of those that are reported in the Toxics Release Initiative.

     Overall, there is good news in this year's report.  From 1994 to 1995, the amount of chemicals released into the environment was down nearly five percent.  For air releases, the drop was seven percent -- a reduction in toxic air pollution of 88 million pounds.  Reported discharges to surface water were down 10 percent.  And releases to land were down by 6 percent.

     This amounts to a continuation of a trend we've seen since 1988, when this community right-to-know initiative began.  Since that time, industrial facilities required to report their toxic releases have reduced their emissions by 46 percent.

     This report provides the data for community action on pollution-related issues.  It is the means by which Americans can become informed and involved in protecting their families and working with local facilities to reduce their pollution.  And it is an integral part of this administration's effort to ensure that Americans have the right to know about pollutants in the air they breathe, the water they drink and the land on which they live.

    We believe that local residents know what is best for their own communities and, given the facts, they will determine the best course of action to protect public health and the environment.  Putting environmental and public health information into their hands is one of the most effective ways to reduce local pollution and prevent it from happening in the future.


     That's why, three years ago, we took the steps we did -- to nearly double the number of chemicals that industry is required to report on.  That's why, last month, we expanded by 30 percent the number of industrial facilities that have to report their toxic emissions into the air, water and land  -- bringing to more than 31,000 the number of facilities that are required to make this information public.

     Together, these two expansions of the community's right-to-know have increased the amount of public information on toxic pollution by approximately two-thirds.

     Collecting this data and making it available to communities has been one of this admininistration's most effective tools for fighting pollution -- as evidenced by the continuing decline in toxic emissions that this year's report shows.

     More than 1,500 citizens groups across the country, along with concerned individuals, have used this data to work with their elected officials -- and even to work directly with the emitting companies -- toward the goal of cleaner, safer and healthier neighborhoods.

     But the report also shows that generation of toxic chemical wastes by American manufacturers continues to increase.  In other words, we still have our work cut out for us.

     For that reason, EPA will continue to seek ways to increase awareness of this data and make it more accessible to the public.

     All communities have a right-to-know about the pollution of their air, their water and their land.  We are encouraged by the progress we see in environmental and public health protection when local residents are informed and involved.  For these reasons, this administration will uphold its commitment to making this critical information regarding toxic pollution as thorough and as readily available as it can possibly be.

     At this point, I'm happy to answer a couple of questions.  Dr. Lynn Goldman, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, is also here to give you further details on the information contained in the 1995 data.