Shawville power plant among 50 dirtiest in country

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A report released by the Environmental Integrity Project lists the 50 dirtiest power plants in the country, and Pennsylvania is well-represented on that list with three listings — one in Clearfield County.

EIP ranked each of the just under 400 power plants for which the most recent emissions and electrical generation data are publicly available, and the Shawville power plant ranked as the fifth-worst.

EIP’s rankings were based on emission rates, or pounds of pollutant for each megawatt-hour (or million megawatt-hours, in the case of mercury) that the plant produced.  Based on a combined ranking across all four pollutant categories (sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide and mercury), the three worst-scoring plants in the U.S. were in North Dakota, with the very worst —  Basin Electric’s Leland Olds plant — coming in first based on a ranking of 35th for sulfur dioxide, 19th for carbon dioxide, 24th for nitrogen oxides, and 37th for mercury emission rates.

The balance of the top 10 dirtiest power plants based on the combined score consisted of: No. 2 Minnkota’s Milton Young in North Dakota; No. 3 Otter Tail’s Coyote in North Dakota; No. 4 South Mississippi Electric Power Association’s R. D. Morrow plant; No. 6 Southern Co.’s E. C. Gaston in Alabama; No. 7 Northern States Power’s Riverside plant in Minnesota; No. 8 Southern Co.’s Greene County plant in Alabama; No. 9 Central Louisiana Electric’s Dolet Hills plant; and No. 10 Progress Energy’s L.V. Sutton plant in North Carolina. 

The 12 states that are home to at least two of the 50 dirtiest power plants were: Indiana (5); Alabama (4); Kentucky (4); North Dakota (4); Ohio (3); Pennsylvania (3); Texas (3); Iowa (3); Illinois (2); Nebraska (2); New Jersey (2); and Wyoming (2). 

EIP’s report also noted: “After years of delay, sulfur dioxide emissions should start to decline over the next several years, as a significant number of coal-fired power plants install scrubbers to meet deadlines imposed under federal and state clean air rules, or to resolve enforcement actions brought by EPA and states.  Almost half (46) of the 100 largest sulfur dioxide emitters have either begun construction of a scrubber, or have committed to install one by 2010.  Large coal-fired power plants equipped with scrubbers have shown that cleaner power is achievable.

“For example, Allegheny Energy’s Conemaugh plant in Pennsylvania and Harrison plant in West Virginia, and Dominion’s Mount Storm plant in West Virginia, all have units equipped with wet limestone scrubbers, and these plants are achieving sulfur dioxide emission rates of approximately one pound per megawatt hour (MWh), well below the dirtiest 50 plants- -average of 22 pounds per MWh.”

The report also ranks the dirtiest power plants on each of the four pollutants — sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and mercury —  for both total tons and by emission rate.  For the complete database of the detailed findings go to www.dirtykilowatts.org on the Web.

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