Published Aug. 10, 2012
South Carolina ranked No. 13 for most toxic air pollution emitted from coal-fired power plants, according to an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The Top 20 Most Toxic States (worst to best):
Coal- and oil-fired power plants still contribute around 44% of all the toxic air pollution reported to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory, according to data from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The report also found a 19% decrease in all toxic air emitted from power plants in 2010, the most recent data available, compared to 2009 levels. This decrease is in response to many power companies using natural gas and the installation of pollution controls by many plants, in preparation of new sanctions that will be issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory is a national database of toxic emissions that’s self-reported by industrial sources. Power plants report emission of mercury, hydrochloric acid and other hazardous metals.
The Natural Resources Defense Council released the first “Toxic 20” report in July 2011. The analysis used publicly available data in the Toxics Release Inventory to rank states by air pollution levels from 2009.
The 2012 analysis compared Toxics Release Inventory emissions reported for 2010 from the electric utilities sector to those from other sectors, and ranked sources by total emissions by sector. The analysis identifies top emitting power plants based on toxic emissions.
The Natural Resources Defense Council is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists.