Today, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) hailed a new report, issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that shows a significant decline in toxic chemical releases in New Jersey. The annual report, which details the amount of dangerous chemicals released to land, air, and water by industrial facilities in New Jersey, shows a 14 percent decrease in toxic releases in 2011 from the last reporting year. Senator Lautenberg is the author of the law that created the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) program, which gave communities the "right to know" about toxic pollution by requiring industry for the first time to fully disclose the release of toxic chemicals.
"The federal "right to know' law is holding polluters accountable and giving communities the information they need to fight pollution and reduce their exposure to toxic chemicals," said Lautenberg, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics, and Environmental Health. "New Jersey families deserve to know the truth about toxic chemicals in their communities, and this report shows that we're making important progress to cut down on the presence of dangerous chemicals in our communities."
The TRI program is the preeminent federal public right-to-know program for toxic chemicals. Health officials, federal, state and local governments, businesses, and the public all use TRI data to understand and reduce threats to public health. The legislation that created the TRI program was written by Senator Lautenberg and signed into law in 1986 as part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
In December 2006, the Bush Administration Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced final rules weakening reporting requirements for the TRI program. The weakened rule allowed more than 3,500 facilities to stop reporting detailed information about their toxic chemical releases and waste management practices. Sen. Lautenberg stepped in to reinstate the stronger requirements by including a provision in the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act that overturned the Bush Administration rule limiting the reporting of these toxic emissions.
More information about the 2011 TRI analysis can be found here: http://www.epa.gov/tri
More information about the New Jersey results can be found here: http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/statefactsheet.htm