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Press Release - 1998 TRI Data
Fair Use Statement

Working Group on Community Right-to-Know
218 D Street, SE * Washington, DC 20003

Press Release
May 11, 2000

Contacts:
Lois Gibbs,Center for Health, Environment and Justice
(703) 237-2249
Felice Stadler, Clean Air Network
(202) 289-2403
Lois Epstein, Environmental Defense
(202) 387-3500
Alan Septoff, Mineral Policy Center
(202) 887-1872
Becky Stanfield, US P.I.R.G.
(202) 546-9707
Lisa Mosca, Working Group on Community Right-to-Know
(202) 544-2714
Paul Orum, Working Group on Community Right-to-Know
(202) 544-9586

EPA RELEASES NEW POLLUTION DATA

MINES, UTILITIES AND TOXIC LANDFILLS RANK HIGH

ACTIVISTS CALL FOR POLLUTION SOLUTIONS AND FULL DISCLOSURE

Today the Environmental Protection Agency is releasing new national data on toxic pollution from the Community Right to Know Act’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). For the first time, the inventory covers the immense toxic pollution released from mines and utilities, and the quantities dumped into hazardous waste landfills.

"Disclosing these emissions is an important citizens’ victory that will help people organize to clean-up and prevent toxic pollution," said Paul Orum, director of the Working Group for Community Right-to-Know.

For its first ten years, the inventory covered only manufacturing industries. The data released today by EPA covers seven additional industries: metal mines, toxic waste disposal, utilities that burn oil or coal, chemical wholesalers, coal processors, petroleum bulk storage terminals, and solvent recyclers.

These new industries report large amounts of toxic pollution, making gaps in regulatory coverage more apparent. Here’s what public interest leaders are saying:

"The new TRI data show that hardrock mining creates huge amounts of toxic pollution. Congress should end the mining industry’s current exemption from toxic waste laws, and reject attempts to legally allow more dumping of toxic mine waste," said Alan Septoff of the Mineral Policy Center.

"Electric utilities are major toxic polluters. EPA should close the special loopholes that exempt utilities’ toxic air releases and coal combustion waste from strict regulation under federal law," urged the Clean Air Network’s Felice Stadler.

"The immense amount of toxics dumped into landfills shows the need for pollution prevention at the source," said Lois Epstein of Environmental Defense.

"For grassroots environmental groups across the country, expanding the Toxic Release Inventory to include more industries is a start, but to protect our communities we need to reduce the use of toxic chemicals," said Lois Gibbs of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. "Citizens not only want to know how much pollution is being released into their communities, they want facilities to prevent releases in the first place."

"To promote pollution prevention, industries should track and report toxic chemical uses, not just releases," said Becky Stanfield of U.S. PIRG. "States that collect chemical use information are reducing production waste, contrary to the national trend," Stanfield said. "President Clinton should require federal facilities to track and report toxic chemical use. This would make the federal government a pollution prevention leader and leave a lasting right-to-know legacy."

"Unfortunately, the Administration is considering proposals that threaten the future of public right-to-know about toxic pollution. We are very concerned about any proposal that weakens the public right-to-know," said Lisa Mosca of the Working Group. "We should close current loopholes, not create new ones."

The Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act passed in 1986 as part of Superfund, the nation’s toxic dumpsite cleanup law. The data released today covers the 1998 reporting year, and while incomplete, is nonetheless the best information available to the public on toxic pollution in many communities across the country.

* * *

This release is provided by the Working Group on Community Right-to-Know, a national network of activists concerned with the public’s right-to-know about chemical hazards and toxic pollution.

For more information contact (phone numbers above):

  • Mining pollution, Mineral Policy Center
  • Utilities pollution, Clean Air Network
  • Toxic waste and communities, Center for Health, Environment and Justice
  • Toxic waste regulation, Environmental Defense
  • Pollution prevention, U.S. PIRG
  • Phantom reductions, Working Group on Community RTK
EPA will release the national 1998 TRI data this afternoon at www.epa.gov/tri.

Additional environmental databases are available through the Right-to-Know Network (RTK-NET) at www.rtk.net/

--END--

=====
Working Group on Community Right-to-Know
218 D Street, SE; Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202-544-9586; Fax: 202-546-2461

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