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EPA Releases Most Up-to-Date Information Ever About Chemicals in Puerto Rico Communities; Releases in Puerto Rico Down 4 Percent

Release Date: 12/08/2009
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) Did you know that with a few clicks of a mouse, you can learn how many pounds of toxic air pollutants were generated by your local power plant, or how many pounds of toxic chemicals were released by a factory near your child’s school? Even better, for the first time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making its inventory of toxic release data, called the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), available in the same calendar year that the reporting facilities submitted the information to the Agency.

EPA’s database provides the most recent information available about the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment of Puerto Rico. Since 1988, TRI data has been released to the public annually to help people learn more about the chemicals present in their local environment and gauge environmental trends over time. Of the 123 facilities in Puerto Rico reporting toxic releases in 2008, on-site toxic releases were down 4% from approximately 4.8 million pounds in 2007 to 4.6 million pounds in 2008.

“Equipped with this data, which is now more up-to-date then ever, people have the basic information to protect their environment,” said Judith Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “Public awareness is a powerful tool and empowering the public with basic information about toxic chemicals in their communities advances our commitment to transparency and promotes openness between governments, businesses and the public.”

TRI is the most comprehensive inventory of information about chemicals released into the environment reported annually by certain industries and federal facilities. These facilities are permitted under strict federal regulations and many are required to install and maintain pollution controls. On a national level, over 21,000 facilities reported on approximately 650 chemicals for calendar year 2008. TRI allows the public to see which facilities are increasing and decreasing their output of toxic chemicals and compounds. 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.

Today's data includes toxics released at company facilities and those transported to disposal facilities off site. All manufacturing companies, as well as coal and oil-fired power plants that produce or use any regulated chemical above the threshold limit are required to participate. The data are collected from industries that are in the following sectors: manufacturing, metal and coal mining, electric utilities, commercial hazardous waste treatment, chemical distributors, solvent recyclers and petroleum bulk storage as well as federal facilities.

TRI provides the amount, location and type of release to the environment --- whether a pollutant is emitted into the air, discharged into the water, or released onto the land. Additionally, TRI has been credited with providing communities with vital local knowledge and encouraging facilities to reduce their releases of toxic chemicals into the environment through source reduction or pollution prevention measures.

The 10 reporting facilities in Puerto Rico with the largest on-site 2008 releases into the environment are as follows (from highest to lowest):

        NameCity2007 Total 2008 Total2007-2008
        On-site Releases (lbs.)On-site Releases (lbs.)% Change
        PREPA - SOUTH COAST POWER PLAN TGUAYANILLA
        1,212,417
        1,240,415
        2.31
        PREPA - AGUIRRE POWER GENERATION COMPLEXAGUIRRE
        1,351,699
        1,195,406
        -11.56
        PREPA - SAN JUAN STEAM PLANTPUERTO NUEVO
        602,856
        425,241
        -29.46
        AES PUERTO RICO LPGUAYAMA
        377,562
        363,786
        -3.65
        SCHERING-PLOUGH PRODUCTS LLCLAS PIEDRAS
        141,961
        276,119
        94.50
        PREPA - PALO SECO STEAM PLANTTOA BAJA
        16,581
        177,863
        972.69
        CEMEX DE PUERTO RICO INCPONCE
        50,084
        131,852
        163.26
        LATAS DE ALUMINIO BALL INCGUAYAMA
        138,000
        123,700
        -10.36
        SHELL CHEMICAL YABUCOA INC.YABUCOA
        126,837
        116,060
        -8.50
        ECOELECTRICA LPPENUELAS
        130,305
        84,505
        -35.15

        For more detailed TRI information, visit: http://www.epa.gov/tri/index.htm
        To view an area fact sheet, visit: http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/statefactsheet.htm

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