Texas Is Now the Nation’s Biggest Emitter of Toxic Substances Into Streams, Rivers and Lakes

  • 02.10.2022
  • Climate News

Texas is a notably easy place to set up shop for industrial projects with lots of liquid waste and nowhere good to put it. The state’s waterways are open for business, an analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data shows, to send large volumes of discarded chemicals and industrial discharge downstream and out to sea.

In a new report by Environment America, a Denver-based nonprofit, Texas ranks first among U.S. states for toxic discharges into streams, rivers and lakes, a title held by Indiana since the organization began analyzing nationwide water pollution in 2009, when Texas ranked fourth.

The report drew from data that was self-reported by industrial facilities and logged with the EPA. It tallied 16.7 million pounds of toxic substances released into Texas water in 2020, up from 13.2 million in 2007.

“Texas has a pretty lax regulatory environment where it’s very easy to permit new polluting facilities and very difficult to get fined for violations,” said Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, the local affiliate of Environment America. “They know they’ll likely get away with it.”