DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado industries released a smaller amount of toxic chemicals in 2021 than any of the previous 10 years, the biggest producers of which are mining and power plant operations.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the latest data for the nation’s toxic chemical output. Nationally, the release of toxic chemicals in 2021 was 10% lower than in 2012.
The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) tracks the management of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment. Certain industrial facilities in the U.S. must report annually how much of each chemical is recycled, combusted for energy recovery, treated for destruction, and disposed of or otherwise released on and off-site.
Colorado has lowered its chemical output as well, even as its region’s chemical output has grown.
In 2021, Colorado industries released a total of 19.7 million pounds of chemicals into the land, air, water, off-site disposal or other methods. This is down even from the first year of the COVID pandemic when there were a total of 19.9 million pounds of TRI chemicals released.
The TRI released in 2021 marks a 10-year record low. In 2012, Colorado released 36.5 million pounds.
Five facilities release TRI chemicals in the highest amounts.
The Henderson Mine operated by Climax Molybdenum Co. is the biggest releaser of chemicals, with 3.3 million pounds in 2021. The company’s other mine in Climax is the fourth-largest chemical releaser. Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mining Co. is the second-largest.
Xcel-owned power plants Comanche Station and Pawnee Station are the third and fifth-largest chemical releasers.