Connecticut's Top Polluters
A recent report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finds that in the year 2011, companies in Connecticut released more than two million pounds of toxic chemicals into the air, water and land. Although high, the numbers are within legal limits.
There are 310 facilities in Connecticut listed on the Toxic Release Inventory. Ninety-one reported no emissions for 2011, but the state's top polluter, Cytec Industries, a chemical manufacturer, emitted some two-hundred thousand pounds of toxic waste in Wallingford.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection grants waste permits and set limits meant to be within safe levels. Still, the EPA's most recent report is disturbing says Roger Reynolds, an attorney with the Connecticut Fund for the Environment.
"Connecticut's a great place to live, work, and raise a family. And these emissions really challenge that and pose challenges for the quality of life," he said.
Some companies have taken steps to refine the manufacturing process or come up with ways to eliminate pollution altogether. That combined with oversight, have helped to reduce toxic releases, says DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain.
"Businesses have discovered that if they really analyze their processes and try to stream load them to make money, it often leads to a reduction of waste that's generated," Schain added.
The down economy has also been a factor with companies not producing at levels they once were. Reynolds says that's a reason why an overall decline in chemical releases could be misleading: "I think it's a bit deceptive. I think what you've got to judge it against is what they should be emitting."
About 4 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were released across the country in 2011. That was an eight percent rise from 2010.
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