17% of people live near toxic release facilities—here's how it breaks down in the Four States

17% of people live near toxic release facilities—here’s how it breaks down by state.

The Supreme Court on June 30 reduced the capability of the EPA to regulate carbon emissions of state power plants in its ruling on West Virginia vs. EPA. Beyond the ruling’s impact on U.S. climate goals, it will also have ramifications for the people who live near power plants. Electricity generation is the second largest contributor to carbon emissions in the U.S., and exposure to pollutants from power plants heightens the risk of respiratory and cardiac health conditions.

Corporate sites across the U.S. are releasing toxins into the surrounding land, air, and water—with many people living in affected communities unaware of the damage being caused. After an accidental release from a chemical plant in West Virginia chemical plant in 1985, Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. The act established the EPA Toxic Release Inventory, which provides citizens with crucial information on what toxins are being emitted in their areas and which companies are doing the emitting. The TRI has allowed certain states to put emission-curbing legislation in place to safeguard public health, such as when Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker passed legislation in 2019 allocating $2.4 billion to climate change resilience.

The EPA’s TRI program currently recognizes 770 chemicals; any site that manufactures or uses these chemicals at above-average levels qualifies for listing in the TRI. Chemicals described by the TRI as “toxic” are known to cause cancer or other negative health issues, as well as adverse effects on the environment. Facilities report the amounts of chemicals they release annually to the TRI, with the “release” of a chemical meaning it is “emitted to the air or water, or placed in some type of land disposal.”

The facilities in the TRI are usually quite large and deal in electricity, metals, mining, chemicals, or hazardous waste. However, not all toxic chemicals used by corporations are listed in the TRI, meaning its inventory of toxin-emitting sites is not exhaustive.

Stacker analyzed data from the EPA Toxic Release Inventory and the U.S. Census Bureau’s five-year American Community Survey to identify the percent of each state’s population living in census tracts with toxic release sites, as well as the corporations and facilities responsible for emitting the highest amounts of toxins annually. These results reflect the last full year of data, 2020, from the 2020 National Analysis Dataset released in October 2021.

Read on to discover where the most toxins are being released in the Four States, what part of your environment they may be polluting, and who is being affected.

4. Oklahoma

  • Population living near toxic release sites: 20.3%
    — 18.3% of state’s white population
    — 21.0% of state’s Hispanic population
    — 18.4% of state’s Black population
    — 22.4% of state’s Native American population
    — 15.0% of state’s Asian population
    — 15.8% of state’s Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander population
  • Total number of sites: 362

Oklahoma’s biggest toxin-emitting site is a paper manufacturer: the International Paper facility released 5.9 million pounds of pollutants, mainly into the air, in 2020. Of the chemicals emitted into the atmosphere in Oklahoma in 2020, 50% was ammonia, 29% methanol, and 5% toluene.

3. Missouri

  • Population living near toxic release sites: 21.7%
    — 21.9% of state’s white population
    — 24.1% of state’s Hispanic population
    — 15.3% of state’s Black population
    — 28.2% of state’s Native American population
    — 14.4% of state’s Asian population
    — 24.3% of state’s Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander population
  • Total number of sites: 507

Combination mine-and-mills comprised four of five of Missouri’s top toxin-emitting sites in 2020. The biggest offenders were facilities in Buick (over 11 million pounds), Brushy Creek (over 6.7 million pounds), Sweetwater (about 3.8 million pounds), and Fletcher (about 3.2 million pounds). The vast majority of toxins were released into the land.

2. Kansas

  • Population living near toxic release sites: 25.0%
    — 23.4% of state’s white population
    — 24.6% of state’s Hispanic population
    — 15.8% of state’s Black population
    — 28.5% of state’s Native American population
    — 15.4% of state’s Asian population
    — 31.4% of state’s Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander population
  • Total number of sites: 322

Of the 15.9 million pounds of toxins released on-site in 2020 in Kansas, 10 million pounds went into the air, 1.3 million pounds into the water, and 4.5 million pounds into the land. PQ Corporation was responsible for 5 million pounds, the most in the state. Second was Koch Fertilizer Dodge City, which released over 3 million pounds.

1. Arkansas

  • Population living near toxic release sites: 27.1%
    — 24.0% of state’s white population
    — 41.7% of state’s Hispanic population
    — 27.4% of state’s Black population
    — 30.3% of state’s Native American population
    — 25.1% of state’s Asian population
    — 69.3% of state’s Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander population
  • Total number of sites: 341

Arkansas’ 2020 toxin amounts were primarily due to three paper distributors. Evergreen Packaging released over 2.7 million pounds that year; Clean Harbors El Dorado LLC, over 2.2 million pounds; and Domtar’s Ashdown mill, with 2.1 million pounds.

Missouri's "Yellowstone Ranch" nestled in the Ozarks

Interior view of “The Double Down Ranch” located near the town of Cassville in Southwest Missouri (Photo courtesy: Allen Treadwell, Hayden Outdoors Real Estate).

CASSVILLE, Mo. — You’ve heard of “Yellowstone,” the incredibly popular television show on Paramount Network, featuring the “Dutton Family’s” beautiful, equestrian style home and the secluded property that surrounds the ranch. Even if you don’t watch the cowboy-themed program, you’ll still appreciate this Missouri ranch, with amenities that one could argue, trump its TV equivalent — and it could all be yours.

The Double Down Ranch” is a 77 acre, luxury equestrian property located in Barry County (near the Missouri/Arkansas state line), and is situated among the rolling hills of the Ozarks.

The listed price — $15 million, brokered by Hayden Outdoors Real Estate. The ranch consists of the main residence, riding arena, barns, a guest house, several equestrian facilities, and much more. There are a number of pastures sectioned off with hand-crafted pipe fencing and several corrals. The property is seeded with some of the best grass money can buy: Bermuda.

“It’s not for everyone, but if horses and a western lifestyle is your passion, then there’s not a better property in the world,” said Allen Treadwell, a licensed broker with Hayden Outdoors Real Estate.

SLIDESHOW: View Photos of The Double Down Ranch

Main Residence

The rustic main residence is a whopping 18,000 square feet. Yellow Pine beams, milled on the east coast in 1912, line much of the two-story interior, which consists of 4 bedrooms and 4-1/2 baths — all spread throughout several sections of the grand estate.

The east wing of this equestrian mansion was built for entertaining. It features a two story great room, stone fireplace, large curved bar, billiard room, and a private poker room. The highlight of the entertainment room: Several large, custom-made structural horseshoes built into the ceiling beams.

“The architect that designed the house spent almost two years in the design process and then it was a multi-year build. Everything was thought of, from the smallest details to the largest,” said Treadwell.

“The Double Down Ranch” main residence outdoor pool (Photo courtesy: Allen Treadwell, Hayden Outdoors Real Estate).

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In the central wing of the house, there’s a custom kitchen, breakfast nook, and wood stove. Just off the kitchen — a butler pantry with custom cabinetry, that includes a extra refrigerator and freezer. The grand dining room is exactly that — grand. It’s customized with hand-painted murals.

The north wing is dominated by the master suite. It’s designed with a seating area, fireplace, coffee bar, two sink vanity areas, two half baths, a walk-in shower, and a large soaking tub.

No mansion is complete without covered parking. This one comes with an eight-car garage.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent hours and hours on this property, and every time I’m there I see some new amazing detail that jumps out at you, including things I didn’t notice before. Overall, the attention to detail is remarkable,” said Treadwell.

Equestrian Facilities

Located on the 77 acre property is a massive, luxurious 60,000 square foot, climate-controlled riding arena with a stadium-sized sound system, LED lighting, and corrals. It’s capable of housing several thousand spectators. Treadwell said the riding arena is called, “The finest privately owned arena in the world.”

Near the arena are stalls, stables, and the main barn with six stalls, a managers office, bathroom and shower facilities, a loft for entertaining, and a large shop.

“There’s somebody out there that’s going to fall in love with this place, immediately. And it is going to be their dream. Because of the location that it is in, somebody’s going to get an incredible deal on this property. Price-wise, it’s no where near what it would cost if it were located in California or Texas,” said Treadwell.

The ranch features a 60,000 square foot, climate-controlled riding arena (Photo courtesy: Allen Treadwell, Hayden Outdoors Real Estate).

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Guest House

For family and friends, there’s even a guest house, separated from the main residence. Inside, you’ll find 6 bedrooms, 4 full baths and 2 half baths, spread out between two stories. This caretaker residence or guest house complements the look of the main house (interior and exterior). The interior has several high-end amenities, and there’s a two-car garage.

The ranch guest house features six bedrooms and four full baths (Photo courtesy: Allen Treadwell, Hayden Outdoors Real Estate).

Treadwell’s final sales pitch: “You couldn’t find something like this anywhere else in the world for for what you’re getting.”

Comet to pass by Earth for first time in 50,000 years

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

KSNF/KODE — A green comet discovered last March will make its closest approach to Earth this month. The comet “C/2022 E3 (ZTF)” was first discovered by astronomers using the wide-field survey camera at California’s Zwicky Transient Facility. 

When it was first found, it was already inside the orbit of Jupiter. Since then, it has brightened substantially and is sweeping across the northern constellation, Corona Borealis in the predawn skies, according to NASA.

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The agency notes that it is still too dim to see without a telescope — though an image from December reveals its bright coma, short broad dust tail, and faint ion tail. The comet will soon be at perihelion, (its closest pass by the Sun) on January 12th and at the closest to Earth on February 1st. 

NASA notes that the brightness of comets is unpredictable, but by then, comet “C/2022 E3 (ZTF)” could become only just visible to the eye in the night skies. The key for those wishing to see the comet then, will need to find a dark location to observe from. Those who live in the Northern Hemisphere will find the comet in the morning sky, as it moves swiftly toward the northwest during January.

Current projections suggest looking for two well known constellations to pinpoint the comet’s location. Between January 12th and February 1st, look for the comet to appear just south of the Big Dipper, and north of the Little Dipper.

According to NASA, the comet has a full orbit of around 50,000 years, meaning that the last time it came close to Earth was when Neanderthals roamed the planet.

Check your address to help Missouri get better broadband access

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri will get a piece of $42 billion to help pay for broadband access as part of a federal program. However, the state is asking residents to help make sure that everyone gets the right coverage.

FCC Map: Missouri broadband coverage

All you need is your phone or computer. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is trying to figure out who has access to broadband and who doesn’t. Your participation could lead to Missouri be awarded hundreds of millions of dollars. 

It’s a challenge with the hope of connecting all Missourians. Missouri residents are encouraged to check and possibly challenge the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Map. On Jan. 13, residents can file challenges to correct inaccuracies on the FCC map. The entire process to submit a complaint is outlined here.

Fill out this form if you have issues accessing broadband in Missouri.

“South central Missouri and northern Missouri have struggled with access in general, where the population just isn’t dense, and it cost a lot to get service to those areas,” Director of the Office of Broadband Development BJ Tanksley said. “Once we have this map decided, we’ll see the red dots remaining, the unserved and the underserved locations. We say that’s probably 100,000 to 200,000 locations across the state.” 

Missouri ranks low nationally for high-speed interact access, with around 400,000 Missourians without any access at all. Roughly 13% of the state is unserved, meaning there is less than 25 megabytes per second download and less than 3 megabytes per second upload and almost 17% of the state is underserved, meaning less than 100 megabytes per second download and less than 20 megabytes per second upload. 

State officials say the effort could help ensure coverage for homes, businesses, and communities is accurately represented, and possibly secured a larger share of funding if the map does not properly represent an area in need.

“As we make historic investments to expand internet access, I encourage Missourians to
participate in the FCC’s broadband map challenge process,” said Governor Mike Parson.
“Ensuring we have an accurate understanding of broadband coverage in Missouri is vital.
Maps that reflect our needs will ensure our state receives and administers the necessary
resources to advance our progress in this critical priority.”

Errors could relate to physical locations or types of internet service availability.

The FCC’s map, which displays the best available data of the state’s served, underserved,
and unserved areas, will determine how much of more than $42 billion the state will
receive for broadband expansion.

Missourians are asked to go to the FCC map online, then type in the address of your home or business. 

“It will zoom into your location, and you will see red dots or green dots and that is going to be based on the served that it has,” Tanksley said. “Red meaning unserved or underserved, green meaning it has access to service.”

Then, if you click on the dot, it will show a list of providers that claim to serve that area. 

“And if one of them doesn’t, you can click and challenge broadband availability and then actually put in your evidence that you actually don’t have service at your location,” Tanksley said. 

Before now, the FCC made broadband maps based off census blocks, which Tanksley said was less accurate. If you don’t have internet access, the department has you covered 

“We have reached out to the libraries across the state, they have this information, as well as the University of Missouri, their local extension offices which they have one in almost every county,” Tanksley said. 

Tanksley estimates that Missouri could receive up to $500 million in federal funds, but said it’s based on if Missourians participate in the challenge. Previously, Tanksley said it would cost $2 billion dollars to completely close all the broadband gaps in the state. Last year, the General Assembly approved $265 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds. 

Click here for more information on how to submit a challenge.

Many action-packed sports days ahead for St. Louis in 2023

ST. LOUIS — A sports equinox happens when all four major professional sports leagues in the United States play regular-season or playoff games on the same day. That includes the MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL.

It’s not possible for St. Louis to fulfill this feat alone with the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Blues representing those four leagues. That said, there will be some days in 2023 that could represent a makeshift St. Louis sports equinox.

As St. Louis CITY SC and the St. Louis Battlehawks start their seasons next month, Downtown St. Louis will essentially double its professional sports scene from two teams to four this year. With more teams comes more opportunities for dedicated St. Louis sports fans to not only root for several hometown squads on the same day, but within the same general vicinity.

For a small stretch in April, the St. Louis Cardinals, Blues, CITY SC and Battlehawks will all be playing meaningful regular season games. In fact, St. Louis sports are guaranteed a makeshift equinox, in which all four teams compete on the same day, on April 1 and April 8 this year.


  • Blues @ Nashville Predators (Noon)
  • Cardinals vs. Toronto Blue Jays (1:15 p.m.)
  • Battlehawks @ Houston Roughnecks (2 p.m.)
  • CITY SC vs. Minnesota United FC (7:30 p.m.)


  • Battlehawks vs. Vegas Vipers (Noon)
  • Blues @ Minnesota Wild (Noon)
  • Cardinals @ Milwaukee Brewers (6:10 p.m.)
  • CITY SC @ Seattle Sounders (9:30 p.m.)

It would be pretty epic if all four schedules aligned for home games in St. Louis on the same day. However, that is not the case right now. There might not be a day in which at least three of them play at home at the same time, unless the Blues or Battlehawks push for playoffs past mid-April.

That said, St. Louis fans can support two of their hometown teams at home on these upcoming days. Some will involve a bit of walking and creative planning to catch both.

MARCH 12 – Blues and Battlehawks

  • Battlehawks vs. Arlington Renegades (3 p.m.) – HOME OPENER
  • Blues vs. Vegas Golden Knights (6 p.m.)

MARCH 18 – CITY SC and Battlehawks

  • Battlehawks vs. D.C. Defenders (6 p.m.)
  • CITY SC vs. San Jose Earthquakes (7:30 p.m.)

APRIL 2 – Cardinals and Blues

  • Cardinals vs. Toronto Blue Jays (1:15 p.m.)
  • Blues vs. Boston Bruins (2:30 p.m.)

APRIL 4 – Cardinals and Blues

  • Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves (6:45 p.m.)
  • Blues vs. Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m.)

APRIL 16 – Cardinals and Battlehawks

  • Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (1:15 p.m.)
  • Battlehawks vs. Seattle Sea Dragons (2 p.m.)

MANY DATES – Cardinals and St. Louis CITY SC

  • April 1: Cardinals (1:15 p.m.), CITY SC (7:30 p.m.)
  • April 15: Cardinals (1:15 p.m.), CITY SC (7:30 p.m.)
  • May 20: Cardinals (6:15 p.m.), CITY SC (8:30 p.m.)
  • June 11: Cardinals (1:15 p.m.), CITY SC (Noon)
  • July 15: Cardinals (6:15 p.m.), CITY SC (7:30 p.m.)
  • Aug. 20: Cardinals (1:15 p.m.), CITY SC (8:30 p.m.)
  • Aug. 30: Cardinals (1:15 p.m.), CITY SC (7:30 p.m.)
  • Sept. 20: Cardinals (6:45 p.m.), CITY SC (7:30 p.m.)
  • Sept. 30: Cardinals (6:15 p.m.), CITY SC (7:30 p.m.)

Chiefs go viral with ring around the rosey play call

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The Kansas City Chiefs are pulling out all the stops as they get ready for playoff mode.

Before the Chiefs went up 21-3 on the Las Vegas Raiders in the final regular season game, the offense’s huddle began moving in a circle before lining up in a formation where running back Jerick McKinnon took the snap.

McKinnon ran right and gave the ball to Patrick Mahomes who threw left to Kadarius Toney and ran it in for a touchdown. The play was nullified by a penalty on center Creed Humphrey.

On the next play, Toney scored on a jet sweep.

After the game, Mahomes said that the team calls the play ‘Snowglobe’ and it was a joke that the offense practiced before head coach Andy Reid installed it into the game plan.

Reid is known for his creativity on offense, especially in the redzone.

The Chiefs have locked up the AFC number 1 seed and will get a first-round bye next week.

How to apply to grow your own weed in Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Recreational marijuana is legal for adults in Missouri. It will soon be legal for adults in the state to buy, and for some, to even grow weed for personal use.

Missouri posted more about what will be needed to apply to get a personal cultivation card.

While the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services won’t begin accepting the applications until Feb. 6, it did post a sample of the application Saturday.

Anyone who hopes to be approved for a personal cultivation card will need to complete the form. It asks for personal information such as your name, social security number, birthdate, and address.

Personal Cultivation Card Application | Missouri Dept. Health and Human Services

Applicants must also be at least 21 years old, submit a recently-taken color picture, two government-issued photo IDs (like a driver’s license and a passport), and pay a $100 application fee.

In addition to personal information, applicants also must verify the area where the marijuana will be grown is in a locked area that is restricted to everyone except the cardholder.

The applicant must agree to give immediate access to anyone from the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services if asked.

After receiving a personal cultivation card the cardholder can legally have up to six flowering marijuana plants, six nonflowering marijuana plants (over 14 inches tall), and six clones (plants under 14 inches tall) for non-commercial use.

Marijuana grown for personal use cannot be shared with anyone, even when living in the same house or apartment. Each person must have their own license.

Again, the state will begin accepting applications for personal grow cards on Feb. 6. That is the same day adults in Missouri are expected to be able to buy marijuana and products containing the drug from dispensaries licensed to sell recreational marijuana.

Human remains identified in Colorado as former Joplin resident

KSNF/KODE — Officials confirm skeletal remains found in Colorado are those of a former Joplin man, who went missing back in 2021.

Here is a link to our previous coverage of this case.

Hikers in Colorado discovered the remains on September 25th of last year in the area of Middle Mountain Road in Pagosa Springs.

The “Pagosa Springs Police Department” announced Friday the remains were officially identified as 42-year-old Michael Kroll.

Authorities list Kroll as a Joplin resident, but say he had been in the Pagosa Springs area shortly before he was reported missing on October 19, 2021.

The case remains an active and ongoing investigation.

Video shows strangers follow 10-year-old boy, steal packages from Independence home

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — An Independence, Missouri, woman tried to stop thieves from taking her neighbor’s package Thursday evening.

But Tammy Baggett didn’t see them chasing her 10-year-old neighbor moments before stealing the items.

“Oh my God, I didn’t know he was home,” Baggett said. “He’s a little upset.”

The boy’s family didn’t want to talk on camera. His father said the 10-year-old boy is still shaken up.

The man said his son was walking home when a car started following him. A passenger got out of the car, started running toward his son, but the driver of the car said, “Not now.”

When the 10-year-old was secure in the home, the same guy walked up to the front porch and stole the family’s packages.

“You know, I was taught if it doesn’t belong to you, don’t touch it,” Baggett said.

She yelled at the thieves while they stole the items.

“When I saw the UPS man come up the street, I saw that car go by and they stopped and waited for the UPS man to walk across the street and drop the packages, and then I didn’t see them again,” Baggett said.

“I didn’t think any more about it until I saw that person and that car sitting there, and I knew it was the same person.”

The 10-year-old’s dad said he thinks they wanted to take his son’s keys and break in the home.

The family filed a police report, but Independence police said it’s hard to identify the suspects. The report said hamster items and makeup were in the packages the crooks stole.

“I’m gonna watch out for him, and we’re going to walk home from the bus stop together,” Bagget said.

Girl Scout Cookies go on sale today

JOPLIN, Mo. — Hungry for Girl Scout cookies?

This year’s Girl Scout Cookie Season kicks off today, January 6th.

The new cookie this year is the Raspberry Rally cookie.  The thin, crispy cookie is a “sister” cookie to the favorite Thin Mints.  The cookie is infused with raspberry flavor instead of mint and dipped in the same delicious chocolaty coating.

This new cookie will be the first in the Girl Scout Cookie lineup to be exclusively offered for online sales and direct shipment only. 

Selling cookies embraces the understanding of the world of business, money management, and entrepreneurship, said Lauren Slamb, Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland spokeswoman.

Every package is filled with leadership and life lessons, she said.

Girl Scout Cookies were originally home-baked by girl members with moms volunteering as technical advisers, according to the national Girl Scouts website. The sale of cookies to finance troop activities began as early as 1917. The Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project.

According to the national Girl Scouts website the best-selling Girl Scout Cookies are: 

  1. Thin Mints® 
  2. Caramel deLites®/Samoas®
  3. Peanut Butter Patties®/Tagalongs®
  4. Adventurefuls™
  5. Do-si-dos®/Peanut Butter Sandwich

How to Purchase Girl Scout Cookies This Year 

If you know a registered Girl Scout, reach out to her to find out how she’s selling cookies in ways that meet local and state safety protocols. 

You can also text COOKIES to 59618 to be among the first to receive information about Girl Scout Cookies.

Beginning February 17, enter your zip code into the Girl Scout Cookie Finder at www.girlscoutcookies.org to find a booth near you, to purchase cookies from a local Girl Scout troop for delivery, or to donate cookies to local causes.