Ohio Ranks 2nd for Global Warming Pollution from Power Plants

For Immediate Release

Columbus, Ohio – On the heels of extreme heat waves in 2012 and the power outages that accompanied Hurricane Sandy, a new report from Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center finds that Ohio ranks 2nd in the country for most carbon pollution from its power plants, the state’s largest single source of global warming pollution. Scientists predict that extreme weather events will become more frequent and severe for future generations, unless we cut the dangerous carbon pollution fueling the problem.

“America's dirtiest power plants are the elephant in the room when it comes to global warming," said Vivian Daly, Field Associate for Environment Ohio.  "If we want a cleaner, safer future for our kids, we can't afford to ignore power plants' overwhelming contribution to global warming. For Ohio, tackling the problem means cleaning up the dirtiest power plants.”

The report, titled, ‘America’s Dirtiest Power Plants,’ comes as the Obama administration readies a new set of rules to tackle global warming. It illustrates the scale of carbon pollution from Ohio’s power sector and ranks Ohio’s biggest carbon polluters.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Ohio’s power plants are the second most polluting in the country.
  • In Ohio, the top five most polluting power plants are General James M Gavin, JM Stuart, FirstEnergy W H Sammis, Cardinal, and Miami Fort.
  • Ohio’s power plants are its single largest source of carbon pollution - responsible for 48percent of statewide emissions.
  • Ohio has 6 power plants ranked as the top 100 carbon polluters in the country including: General James M Gavin at 7th, JM Stuart at 25th, and FirstEnergy W H Sammis 39th
  • Ohio’s power plants produce as much carbon each year as 25,200,000 cars.

“Of course we have to prepare for the harmful effects that climate change has and will continue to have on our health and our way of life – such as heat stress, infectious diseases, breathing problems, and cardiac events - but we cannot continue to focus only on dealing with those harmful effects as they occur,” says Dr. Rosemary Chaudry. “We need to focus our efforts on prevention – reducing the factors that contribute to the changes in climate that leading experts consider the major public health threat of this century. Burning fossil fuels- coal, oil, and gas – is a major contributor to climate change. If we want to make a big impact on reducing the threat to our health, our way of life, and our economy from climate change, the best bang for our buck is reducing the pollutants from new and existing power plants.”

Small business owner John Fetters stated, “Over the past five years we have saved our customers 40 – 50 percent of their lighting energy costs. This reduction means that there is a corresponding reduction in air pollution from electric power plants. We are dedicated to making our planet a better place, especially for our children and grandchildren, and urge the electric power industry to reduce their green house gas emissions” as well.  Fetters works with Effective Lighting Solutions, a consulting, design and training service that reduces the energy used to light commercial, industrial, institutional, and government facilities.

This summer, President Obama directed his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, the largest single source of carbon pollution. In a major step, the EPA is expected to propose an updated rule for cutting carbon pollution from new power plants on September 20. Ohioans have already submitted more than a quarter million public comments in support of limiting carbon pollution from power plants.

Meera Parthasarathy of the Columbus Green Buildings Forum said she imagines a “future designed with energy elegance: small, localized clean energy generation that will dramatically reduce power losses through transmission from polluting coal burning power plants located in remote regions of our country; buildings and homes with net zero designs that generate the energy they consume entirely on site; sustainable land use developments that reduce the energy
costs of our transportation infrastructure; ecologically harvesting our water resources and reducing our energy footprint.”

Environment Ohio called on state leaders like Senator Brown to join, them in supporting limits on power plants’ carbon pollution. “Ohio is the 2nd biggest emitter of carbon pollution from the biggest sources, so it’s critical that Senator Brown step up and support action,” said Daly.