- West Virginia
- North Carolina
Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida are the states with the most toxic air pollution from coal and oil power plants, according to a new report by an environmental advocacy group.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) used Environmental Protection Agency to rank the top 20 worst states for air pollution from power plants.
According to the report, half of all air pollution from industrial sources in
comes from coal- and oil-fired power plants.
Overall, U.S. power plants emitted 771 million pounds of toxic chemicals in 2009, with the electric sector responsible for 49 percent of all industrial toxic air pollution that year, or 382 million pounds. [Top 10 Alternative Energy Bets]
for 12 percent of U.S. industrial air pollution, Ohio's power plants emitted 44.5 million pounds of harmful chemicals in 2009. For comparison, the 20th ranked state, Iowa, was responsible for just 1 percent of U.S. industrial air pollution, or 2.5 million pounds of harmful chemicals.
The researchers also looked specifically at mercury air pollution, finding Ohio and Pennsylvania also took the top two spots in this measure.
The EPA is attempting to revise its public health protections to make its Mercury and Air Toxics standard stricter, but lawmakers including House Energy and Commerce Committee chair Fred Upton (R-MI) have vowed to block the new measures.