EPA Reports Decline in Chemical Releases in New England

BOSTON (March 3, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2020 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, which shows that companies that manage chemicals continue to make progress in preventing pollution and reducing chemical releases into the environment. The report shows continued reductions in toxic chemical releases in the New England Region and that between 2019 and 2020 total releases of TRI chemicals nationwide decreased by 10 percent.

"By collecting and publishing the Toxics Release Inventory data every year, EPA works to better protect communities and promote transparency, and gives communities information that better empowers them," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "EPA is encouraged by the continued decrease in releases of toxic chemicals in New England. We still have work to do to ensure this trend continues, especially in those communities that have been disproportionately impacted by pollution."

This 2020 Analysis includes enhancements to make data more useful and accessible to communities, including communities with environmental justice concerns. EPA has added demographic information to the "Where You Live" mapping tool, making it easy to overlay maps of facility locations with maps of overburdened and vulnerable communities. Community groups, policymakers, and other stakeholders can use this information to identify potential exposures to air and water pollution, better understand which communities are experiencing a disproportionate pollution burden and take action at the local level.

In 2020, 95 percent of the TRI chemical waste managed at facilities in New England was not released into the environment and was instead managed using preferred practices such as recycling, energy recovery, and treatment. This is 6 percent higher than the national average. Facilities in the region reported releasing 14.3 million pounds of TRI chemicals, a 14 percent decrease from 2019. From 2011 to 2020, releases in New England decreased by 5.9 million pounds (30%), driven by reduced air releases from paper manufacturing facilities and electric utilities. For 2020, 8 percent of New England facilities reported implementing new source reduction activities. Among the sectors with the highest source reduction reporting rates was the plastics and rubber products manufacturing sector.

To assist communities with reducing pollution, EPA is offering $23 million in grant funding opportunities for states and Tribes to develop and provide businesses with information, training, and tools to help them adopt pollution prevention (P2) practices. For the first time, approximately $14 million in grant funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is available with no cost sharing/matching requirement, increasing access to funding for all communities. These grants are also as a critical component of the President's Justice40 initiative by providing a meaningful benefit to communities impacted by legacy pollution issues. As such, EPA will administer this program in accordance with this initiative to ensure at least 40% of the benefits are delivered to underserved communities.

In addition to the new community mapping tools, the National Analysis also includes a new map in the data visualization dashboard that displays international transfers of chemical waste by facilities in each state. Additionally, the National Analysis includes a new profile of the cement manufacturing sector and the addition of greenhouse gas reporting information in certain sector profiles. Users will be able to track greenhouse gas emissions for electric utilities, chemical manufacturing, cement manufacturing, and other sectors. This section will also include information on the benefits of source reduction in these industries.

[Read the News Release on the EPA website]

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