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State's big polluters spewed less last year

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State environmental regulators say toxic emissions by larger Indiana polluters fell 18 percent, or 20.6 million pounds, last year.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management disclosed the 2009 data this month, citing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s newly released Toxic Release Inventory, or TRI.

Electric-generating utilities accounted for 50 percent of the state’s pollution, with 49 percent from manufacturers.

The TRI data aren’t considered a comprehensive measure of pollution, however, in part because reporting is limited to firms that make or process more than 25,000 pounds of chemicals on the toxics list or use more than 10,000 pounds of the chemicals in a given year.

It’s also unknown to what extent the lower numbers stem from better practices among polluters—or to what degree emissions reflected reduced manufacturing output during the recession.

Many businesses have found ways to switch to safer chemicals or to eliminate them altogether, “and many have increased the efficiency of their processes to reduce or virtually eliminate chemical use,” IDEM Commissioner Tom Easterly said in a statement.

Overall, the Indiana manufacturing sector reduced toxic emissions 19 percent last year, while electric utilities curbed pollution 13 percent, according to TRI data.

The state’s coal-burning electric utilities have been upgrading their pollution-control devices in the last decade to comply with tougher federal and state limits on sulfur and nitrogen dioxide.

Last week, Indianapolis Power & Light asked state utility regulators to collect an additional $8 million from ratepayers to cover cost overruns on a flue gas desulfurization project at its Petersburg generating station, now estimated to cost $128 million.

The TRI data do not measure non-industrial activities that generate toxics, such as vehicle exhaust, which contains chemicals like toluene and xylene.  The data are more useful in identifying trends in chemical use and ways to modify industrial processes.

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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