Al Gore Can’t Tell the Truth About Toxics

On May 11, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its newest Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), which covers the 1998 reporting year. Vice President Al Gore was quick to use the report to launch an attack on Texas, posting on his web site that the TRI showed Texas as being “the nation’s air-pollution leader.”

“The TRI report shows no such thing,” said Patrick Burns, Director of Environmental Policy at Citizens for a Sound Economy. “In fact, according to the TRI, Texas’ air emissions are almost 25 percent below the number one state, Ohio.

“In misrepresenting the TRI data, Gore neglected to mention that his alleged home state of Tennessee is ranked immediately after Texas, and has almost the same level of air emissions.”

The Vice President arrives at his false conclusion by ignoring industries that were required to report toxic releases for the first time in 1998, something he trivializes as merely “a reporting requirement change.” Evidently the Vice President’s own EPA Administrator, Carol Browner, disagrees with Gore. In a press conference introducing the TRI, Browner said that including the new industries will give Americans “the best picture ever of the actual amounts of toxic pollution being emitted by industry into local communities.”

Concluded Burns, “We’ve heard repeatedly from the White House, from the Vice President and from the Environmental Protection Agency, that America is enjoying the cleanest environment in a generation. It’s remarkable that Mr. Gore, with his environmental credentials, would resort to such subterfuge to advance his political interests. He should be celebrating, not denigrating.”