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EPA releases interactive map of US biggest polluters

Posting in Energy

The Environmental Protection Agency has released an interactive map revealing the largest carbon emitters in the U.S over 2010.

A new map released by the EPA yesterday gives us an interactive glimpse of the largest U.S. based greenhouse gas polluters.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)'s website lists emission metrics from power plants, oil refineries, paper mills and other industries across U.S boundaries and states. Users are able to view and sort data for the calendar year 2010 from over 6700 by facility, location, industrial sector, and the type of GHG (greenhouse gas) emitted. If they wish, they can also download the entire data set.

There's no surprise when you scan certain regions and find that no wind power or solar power plants exist in the vicinity of heavyweight U.S polluters -- or few on the map itself, in honesty.

The Scherer coal-fired power plant near Macon, Ga., is labelled as the largest producer of greenhouse gases in the United States. In 2010, the plant generated 22.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide alone.

The collated data for greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 shows:

  • Power plants were the largest stationary sources of direct emissions. 2,324 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent were released.
  • Petroleum refineries ranked second with emissions of 183 mmt.
  • CO2 accounted for the largest percent of greenhouse gas emissions, claiming a share of 95 percent.
  • Methane accounted for 4 percent, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases coming in last for the remaining 1 percent.
  • 100 facilities each reported emissions over 7 mmt of carbon dioxide, including 96 power plants, two iron and steel mills and two refineries.

According to the press release, Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation stated:

"Thanks to strong collaboration and feedback from industry, states and other organizations, today we have a transparent, powerful data resource available to the public. The GHG Reporting Program data provides a critical tool for businesses and other innovators to find cost- and fuel-saving efficiencies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and foster technologies to protect public health and the environment."

The website also includes a downloadable fact sheet (.pdf).

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure