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Report: Ohio in the Top Five States for Carbon Pollution

PHOTO: A new report from Environment Ohio ranks Ohio fifth in the nation for the amount of carbon pollution spewed by power plants. Photo courtesy of the EPA.
PHOTO: A new report from Environment Ohio ranks Ohio fifth in the nation for the amount of carbon pollution spewed by power plants. Photo courtesy of the EPA.
September 19, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Buckeye State ranks fifth in the nation in a new list of states with the dirtiest air. According to the Environment Ohio Research and Policy Center, Ohio's power plants spew as much carbon into the atmosphere as the entire nation of Kuwait. Nate Lotze, campaign organizer with Environment Ohio, says the findings are timely as world leaders and thousands of activists converge in New York City for the United Nations Climate Summit. He says solutions are needed to curb the carbon pollution that is spurring climate change.

"Ohio is already feeling the impacts of global warming," says Lotze. "We've seen more frequent and severe extreme weather around the state and we've seen the different health dangers posed by pollution in the air."

Lotze points to Franklin County's recent "F" ranking in the American Lung Association report for ozone pollution. The report also comes as the Environmental Protection Agency is taking comments on its Clean Power Plan, which would be the first-ever policy to limit carbon pollution from power plants.

Dr. Karen McCoy, chief of pulmonary medicine at Nationwide Children's Hospital, says air pollution's impact on health is underestimated. She says besides an increase in asthma attacks, there are overall higher death rates in areas with higher pollution levels.

"These are individuals who are not necessarily selected because they have any kind of heart, lung disease," says McCoy. "They are not elderly or one of the conventional high-risk groups. It's everybody who's suffering from higher pollution levels."

The report also looked at the dirtiest plants in the nation, and rated American Electric Power's Gavin plant in Southeast Ohio as the sixth worst for carbon pollution.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH