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EPA Annual Toxics Report Shows Decrease in Chemicals Released From Facilities in Puerto Rico

Release Date: 02/21/2008
Contact Information: Rich Cahill (212) 637-3666, cahill.richard@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The amount of toxic chemicals released into the air, water and land in Puerto Rico fell by over 700,000 pounds, from 7.1 million pounds in 2005 to 6.4 million in 2006, according to data in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report issued today in record time. The TRI data shows the total amount of chemical releases to air in Puerto Rico dropped by more than 10% or approximately 721,000 pounds from the reported 2005 releases. The electric utilities in Puerto Rico lowered their sulfuric acid emissions almost 9% from 5.5 million pounds reported in 2005 to 5 million pounds. The most significant drop of approximately 500,000 pounds occurred at the PREPA Cambalanche power plant in Arecibo. These reductions resulted from the utility operating the gas turbines at higher load conditions (less polluting) and for fewer hours than in 2005.

“TRI is an important tool for regulators, emergency responders, businesses and communities because it helps them better understand and be aware of the types and amounts of chemicals being released in their neighborhoods,” said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator. “It also serves to encourage industries to improve their processes and reduce the amounts of chemicals released – which was the case in Puerto Rico in the 2005-2006 reporting periods.”

The TRI is the most comprehensive source of information about chemicals released into the environment. On a national level, over 23,000 facilities reported on approximately 650 chemicals for calendar year 2005. Thanks to improvements in EPA’s system, the vast majority of facilities now report data electronically and detailed information about specific facilities is more readily accessible to the public.

The TRI tracks the chemicals released by facilities specified by the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act of 1986 and its amendments. The Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990 also mandates that TRI data include information on toxic chemicals treated on-site, recycled, and burned for energy recovery.

The TRI data and background information are available to the public at: http://www.epa.gov/tri/tridata/tri06/index.htm. Communities can also quickly and easily identify local facilities and chemical releases by using the TRI explorer mapping tool, available at: http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer.

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