Six Great Lakes states rank in NRDC’s “Toxic 20”

A power plant outside of Cheshire, Ohio. Photo: Ppicture_taking_fool (flickr)

Six Great Lakes states are among the 20 worst for power company air pollution in a recent ranking by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Four are in the top ten.

While the rankings for the region are high, the report shows that air pollution released by power plants is going down. This reflects a general trend in the U.S. The report shows a 19 percent reduction of reported electric sector air toxics from 2009 to 2010, and a 4 percent reduction in mercury emissions.

The environmental group compiled 2010 data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s toxics release inventory of each power plant’s toxic chemical and industrial air emissions.

The top 20 air polluting states account for 62 percent of U.S. electricity generation but release 92 percent of that industry’s toxic air pollution, the group reported. They also release 72 percent of its overall mercury emissions.

Here are the six Great Lakes states on the list.

Overall “Toxic Twenty” 2010 ranking (1 being worst polluter)

Great Lakes   state

Amount of chemicals released  (in pounds)

Amount of Mercury released (in pounds)

State’s rank in 2009

Percent increase or decrease of pollution from 2010 to 2009

2

Ohio

36.4 million

4,210

1

-18%

3

Pennsylvania

31.5 million

3, 960

2

-24%

4

Indiana

26.2 million

3,170

6

-2%

7

Michigan

15.5 million

2,250

7

-32%

16

Illinois

4.7 million

1,980

17

-16%

18

Wisconsin

3.6 million

1,330

18

+4%

Minnesota and New York are the only states in the Great Lakes Basin that didn’t make the list.

The six Great Lakes states on the list contributed 117.9 million pounds of toxic air pollution into the atmosphere in 2010. They also released 16,900 pounds of mercury.

New mercury and air toxic standards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency aim to reduce overall air pollution by significant amounts by 2015.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>