According to recent government studies, although there has been a decline in the use of coal by U. S. based power plants, they still remain the largest source of greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide.
The Environmental Protection Agency report released just a few days ago stated that while the amount of heat trapping gases produced by power plant in the United States fell almost 5% in 2011 due to less burning of coal, they were still responsible for producing over 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. It is these two toxins that are known to cause global warming.
The EPA’s report went on to state that the statistics do reflect a decline in the dominate source of energy for the power plants across the United States, with an increase in the use of natural gas and other renewable energy sources. Environmental expert’s state that U.S. based power plants are producing over half the greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources while refineries and natural gas systems are a distant second and third source.
This second annual EPA report includes data from over 8,000 sites in nine different sectors of industry. The study tracked global warming pollution both by individual facilities and industry type. The EPA’s study found that the facilities that were monitored produced over 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide pollution.
Findings of the agency’s study showed that greenhouse gas pollution was more concentrated at the larger power plants, chemical plants and petroleum refineries. As a result of the study, four percent of the sites were responsible for nearly 60 % of the reported pollution in 2011.
Atlanta based Southern Company’s Plant Scherer, located in Juliette, Georgia, was found to be the largest producer of greenhouse gas nationwide in 2011. This coal fired plant reportedly released over 20 million metric tons of carbon dioxide that year. Not surprisingly, another Southern Company owned plant, The James H. Miller, Jr. location in Quinton, Alabama, also produced over 20 million tons of greenhouse gases. This made it the second largest producer in the nation for 2011.
The Martin Lake power plant, located in Tatum, Texas and operated by Luminant out of Dallas came in third with over 18 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution.
Environmental watchdog organizations are calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s findings a “call to action” for Americans to find innovative solutions for reducing carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants. Experts say that it is up to American consumers to make the demand for less pollution and cleaner energy sources.