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Speeches By EPA Administrator

 

Toxic Release Inventory Announcement

05/11/2000
Administrator Carol M. Browner
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Remarks Prepared for Delivery
Toxic Release Inventory Announcement
Washington, DC
May 11, 2000


Today, we are making public critical information on discharges of toxic pollution from seven major industries in America. This marks the first time ever that these seven industries have publicly reported their toxic emissions under EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory.

Those industries are: electrical utilities, coal mining, metal mining, chemical wholesalers, petroleum bulk plants and terminals, solvent recovery, and hazardous waste management facilities.

The new results, when added to the manufacturing sector already reporting, bring the total releases of toxic chemicals reported nationally to 7.3 billion pounds – nearly triple the previous number. Americans now will have the best picture ever of the actual amounts of toxic pollution being emitted by industry into local communities.

All communities have a basic Right To Know about the toxic chemical wastes that are discharged into their air, their water and their land. That is why the Clinton-Gore Administration has made expanding the public’s Right To Know a top environmental priority. Putting this basic information about toxic releases into the hands of citizens is one of the most powerful tools available for protecting public health and the environment in local communities.

That is why the Clinton-Gore Administration has dramatically expanded public access to this vital information.
  • The addition of the seven sectors reporting for the first time today are the result of a directive signed by President Clinton in 1997.
  • Prior to that, the Clinton-Gore Administration doubled the number of toxic chemicals that must be reported and expanded the number of facilities reporting in the manufacturing sector by 30 percent.

The result of these actions has been to arm the public with information that they can use to ensure the improved protection of public health in their communities.

Since the reporting of manufacturing began eleven years ago, total toxic discharges have decreased by 45 percent. Reductions of these wastes mean fewer environmental threats to public health. They also frequently represent a savings to industry through more efficient management of their production processes.

The figure of 7.3 billion pounds of pollution from all industries now reporting will set a new baseline for measuring future trends of toxics discharged into America’s environment.

The manufacturing sector – which has been reporting since 1988 – is now just 33 percent of total toxic emissions being measured in this country.

Metal mining accounts for 48 percent of all discharges in the current figures, or 3.5 billion pounds. Electrical utilities count for another 15 percent -- 1.1 billion pounds.

These figures are taken from 1998, the most recent reporting year under the Toxic Release Inventory.

For the record, between 1997 and 1998, total releases of toxic pollution for the manufacturing sector continued to decline – this time by 90 million pounds. Next year, we’ll be able to see how all of the combined sectors will “trend” in terms of total emissions and individually.

Thousands of citizens, communities, and businesses across America will have access to this data on the Internet and from other sources. As in the past, they will work with their elected officials and local industries toward the goal of achieving cleaner and healthier neighborhoods. And we in the Clinton-Gore Administration will remain committed to supplying them with this important information to the greatest extent possible.

You have been given press kits today similar to previous years. This time, however, as a result of the new data being presented, you will notice lists of states and facilities in eight different categories. The categories are the traditional manufacturing sector and the seven new sectors.

For those looking for more specific data about exact pollutants emitted by facilities, that information is available from the full data base posted today on the Internet.

Now, I’ll be happy to take your questions.