Environment

Photos: The 100 dirtiest power plants in America -- including two in Colorado

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"The report has been in the works for a long time," says Margaret McCall, an energy associate with Environment Colorado. Moreover, she stresses that making the announcement right after the floods "is something we've been thinking about a lot. It's hard to negotiate a situation like this. The report's coming out now because this Friday, the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] is set to announce standards for new power plants. But the flooding is a sad reminder that these things are happening all the time."

The following excerpt from the report's executive summary establishes the tenor of the document. It reads in part:
Global warming is one of the most profound threats of our time, and we're already starting to feel the impacts -- especially when it comes to extreme weather. From Hurricane Sandy to devastating droughts and deadly heat waves, extreme weather events threaten our safety, our health and our environment, and scientists predict things will only get worse for future generations unless we cut the dangerous global warming pollution that is fueling the problem. Power plants are the largest source of global warming pollution in the United States, responsible for 41 percent of the nation's production of carbon dioxide pollution, the leading greenhouse gas driving global warming.

America's power plants are among the most significant sources of carbon dioxide pollution in the world. The 50 most-polluting U.S. power plants emit more than 2 percent of the world's energy-related carbon dioxide pollution -- or more pollution than every nation except six worldwide.

Also included are graphics like this one, which establishes the role of power plants in America's overall carbon output....

...and an illustrated comparison of carbon dioxide pollution emitted by the fifty dirtiest power plants to other countries: Still, the grabbiest part of the presentation is likely the list of the one-hundred most polluting power plants, led by the Georgia Power Company's Scherer facility, a coal-powered plant responsible for 21.3 metric tons of emissions per annum according to 2011 figures -- the equivalent of 4.44 million vehicles.

What about Colorado plants?

Continue for more about the dirtiest power plants report, including another photo and the complete document.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts