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Report: Carbon Pollution from KY Power Plants = 19.6 Million Cars

Photo: This report, from Environment America Research and Policy Center, says Kentucky is home to six of the top 100 "dirtiest" power plants in the U.S.
Photo: This report, from Environment America Research and Policy Center, says Kentucky is home to six of the top 100 "dirtiest" power plants in the U.S.
September 23, 2013

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Many scientists and environmentalists say climate change caused by carbon emissions is contributing to America's extreme weather of recent years. And a new report finds that Kentucky has six of the 100 dirtiest power plants in the country, in terms of carbon pollution. Environment America Research and Policy Center (EARPC) analyzed data the plant operators submit to the U.S. Department of Energy.

According to Brian Magi, an atmospheric scientist who has studied the results, they merit attention.

"These numbers aren't coming from anybody with an agenda," he declared. "It's coming from the people that actually have done the emissions, and the reason they're still burning fossil fuels is because we want them. So, at some point, we have to make a choice."

According to the report, "America's Dirtiest Power Plants," the facility with the most carbon emissions in the Commonwealth is the Kentucky Utilities plant near Carrolton (Ghent Generating Station). It ranks 26th among some 6,000 plants generating electricity nationwide. In total, the report said, Kentucky's coal-fired plants contribute 63 percent of the state's total climate-changing pollution.

The EPA is setting new limits for carbon emissions. Graham Givens, a clean-energy associate at EARPC who analyzed some of the data for the report, said generating electricity with coal doesn't have to be an "all-or-nothing" approach.

"We're not asking for power plants to shut down," he said. "We're asking for a carbon reduction. It is possible for power plants to reduce their carbon emissions."

According to the data, Kentucky's power plants emit as much CO2 as more than 19 million cars. Brian Magi said reducing carbon emissions at the local level can have a big effect on global warming.

"When I see a report like this, I think of how small-scale or grassroots efforts to try to bring attention to CO2 emissions and emitters can have global implications."

In addition to supporting the President's request for stricter emissions rules for new power plants, Environment America and other groups are asking that emissions be reduced at existing plants across the country.

Link to that report at EnvironmentAmericaCenter.org.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY