Environmental journalists may find a story by asking about the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of a nearby coal-burning power plant or major chemical refinery. A new EPA database makes the query easier and the answers more accurate.
A new online, searchable Environmental Protection Agency database gives information about the largest GHG emitters. It can be a starting point for reporting that goes deeper into the story, and an aid for finding the local angles.
One problem with the database is that it only covers the biggest emitters -- "major facilities." Two good things are that it offers nationwide facility-level data for the first time and that it is map-based. It covers power plants, petroleum and natural gas systems, refineries, chemical plants, waste plants, and metals, minerals, and pulp and paper plants.
The database was mandated by Congress in 2008. EPA rolled out a limited version, against industry resistance, in 2012. The current version is more complete and up-to-date.