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2001 Toxic Release Inventory Fact Sheet
Are you concerned about your health because Southern Indiana is home to 3 of the state's top 10 toxic polluters?
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(2) No

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(3) Unsure

2.1 % (1)
Total: 48

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AK Steel state's top toxic polluter

Four area counties in top 10 for contamination

By MARK WILSON Courier & Press staff writer 464-7417 or mwilson@evansville.net
July 2, 2003

Although it is touted as a state-of-the-art facility, AK Steel still tops Indiana's list of toxic polluters, and Spencer County, where the manufacturer operates, also tops the list of Indiana counties with the most toxic pollution.

"AK Steel has built this state-of-the-art facility and what we get is apparently the state of polluting in Indiana," said John Blair of local environmental group Valley Watch, noting that the company received millions in tax breaks.

A company official could not be reached to comment about the information, included in Indiana's release of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's most recent Toxic Release Inventory report. The report is based on the 2001 emissions of various pollutants as reported by companies.

Four counties in the Evansville area are listed in the state's top 10 counties for toxic pollution. They are Spencer County, 1; Gibson County, 3; Warrick County, 4; and Pike County, 8.

Spencer, ranked second in toxic pollution in 2000, knocked Lake County from No. 1 on the list.

In addition to AK Steel, other local industries among the top 10 toxic polluters for 2001, according to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, are Cinergy's Gibson Generating Station and Alcoa generating station in Warrick County. Eight of those top 10 polluters are coal-burning power plants.

Only one of the 10 companies with the most pollution reductions - Indianapolis Power & Light generating station, near Petersburg, Ind. - is in Southwest Indiana.

"We live in this hole of pollution," Blair said. "How much evidence does it take?"

He said the latest report gives further support to his contention that the counties in the Evansville area should not be declared in attainment of stricter new federal air quality standards.

Despite Southwest Indiana's poor showing in the latest pollution rankings, overall Indiana industries reduced the amount of toxins released into air, water and land by more than 9 percent, according to IDEM. Businesses in Indiana released 128.7 million pounds of toxic chemicals in 2001, down from 141.6 million pounds in 2000. The decline comes despite the addition of 35 more businesses now required to report their toxic releases and the EPA's stricter reporting requirements for the toxin lead. The release of cancer-causing chemicals was reduced 12 percent statewide in 2001. Indiana maintained its ranking of eighth in the country for overall toxic chemical releases.

 
 

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