Pennsylvania and Florida rank third as the nation’s dirtiest states, according to a new study released Tuesday.
The report by PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center titled America’s Dirtiest Power Plants ranks the states with the most carbon pollution from its power plants.
Texas and Ohio are the nation’s biggest polluters, the report said.
“America’s dirtiest power plants are the elephant in the room when it comes to global warming,” spokeswoman Erika Staaf said during an interview at Point Park in Johnstown.
“We need to tackle carbon emissions from larger sources and the largest sources in Pennsylvania are power plants,” she said.
The report comes as the nation grapples with tornadoes, droughts, floods and storms that many believe is the result of increased carbon emissions and other heat-trapping “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere.
The Rev. William Thwing, pastor of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, points to Hurricane Sandy as an extreme weather event influenced by global warming.
“If we keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere as fast as we can, we’re going to have sea levels that will inundate all of our coastal cities, and there won’t be anything left,” Thwing said.
Carbon pollution from power plants is Pennsylvania’s largest single source of global warming pollution, Staaf said.
First Energy’s Bruce Mansfield plant in Shippingport, Beaver County, was ranked eighth in the nation for carbon pollution, the report said.
In a June 25 speech on climate policy, President Barack Obama said he would direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use its authority under the Clean Air Act to develop greenhouse gas emission standards for power plants.
The EPA is expected to announce updated regulations on new power plants by Sept. 20.
“Scientists predict that extreme weather events will become more frequent and severe for future generations unless we take action,” Staaf said.
Tom Shuster, campaign representative for the Sierra Club, said the sooner the nation acts on curbing carbon emissions the easier it will be to solve the problem of climate disruption.
The report is available online at www.PennEnvironment .org/center.
Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/PatBuch- nowskiTD