Power plants are under the gun as federal and state legislators and regulators haggle over how to address climate change and energy production issues.
One starting point for figuring out how power plants in your area fit into the picture is a July 26, 2007, report by the Environmental Integrity Project, an advocacy group. They document the 2006 or 2005 emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury from 378 of the largest sources in the US. Many new power plants, often coal-fired, are being built or are on the negotiating table; locations and details are provided in the report.
Other data sources for cross-checking this information, adding information on many other power plant pollutants, or providing historical perspective, include:
- Toxics Release Inventory, as provided by OMB Watch. One way to spot sources of interest to your audience is to search by county. Power plants will usually show up as major sources.
- EPA: AirData Selection Map. For a quick visual image of relative emissions, select a geographic area. On the subsequent list of data choices, one option is to select "facility emissions" under "maps." On the resulting page select "total of these pollutants" and "generate map." Power plants again usually show up as major sources (though not always). Scrolling over each colored circle on the map provides a quick summary of 1999 data on emissions. You can also use this resource to find power plant information through the many other database options.