Sierra Club report spotlights worst toxic polluters in Virginia

sierra club virginiaThe Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club will release a report on Thursday entitled The Top 25 Virginia Localities with the Highest Toxic Air Emissions. High ranking Virginia localities on the list include Hopewell, Covington, Isle of Wight, Buchanan and Chesterfield.

The report also highlights the state’s largest corporate polluters, including: WestRock, Honeywell International, International Paper, SunCoke Energy and Dominion Virginia Power – the largest air polluters in Virginia. Total reported air pollution exceeds 22 million pounds, and has increased in comparison to the previous year. Virginia is among the top worst total toxic releases occurring in the US.

“All Virginians deserve clean air to breathe, but it is currently a luxury in our state not enjoyed by everyone,” Kate Addleson, Director of the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, said. “People who live closer to the facilities spewing this pollution are more likely to have their health impacted- and we hope this report will help them to be better informed about the sources of poor air quality in their region.”

The report is based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2014 Toxic Release Inventory (the most recent data available), a collection of the air pollution data available for most zip codes across the United States. This data is analyzed to create the final Sierra Club report.

“The data in the Toxic Release Inventory is self-reported by companies,” Kendyl Crawford, Conservation Program Manager with the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, said. “Corporate polluters have a clear conflict of interest here– some of this data is likely under-reported, and we know that emissions from non-manufacturing facilities and from facilities with less than ten employees are not counted at all.”

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