EPA details the carbon pollution from power plants for the first time

The Environmental Protection Agency announced a new tool Wednesday that makes public for the first time detailed information about greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources.

Mandated in a 2008 spending bill, the greenhouse-gas reporting program requires that large power plants, refineries and other facilities report their emissions to the agency. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are blamed for climate change.

EPA released the facilities’ 2010 greenhouse gas emissions data Wednesday in the form of a searchable database.

Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, told reporters that the data will “will be a strong driver for greenhouse gas reductions.”

“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,” McCarthy said in a statement.

Among EPA’s top-line findings from the data: Power plants, the largest stationary source of greenhouse gases, emitted 2,324,000,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2010. The agency also found that 100 facilities, 96 of which were power plants, emitted more than 7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2010.

Using the database, The Hill was able to determine the 10 power plants that emitted the highest levels of greenhouse gases in 2010:

1. Robert W Scherer power plant: Juliette, Ga. — 22,978,929 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent
Owned by: Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company

2. Bowen coal-fired power plant: Cartersville, Ga. — 21,026,397 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent
Owned by: Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company

3. James M. Barry coal- and natural gas-fired power plant: Quinton, Ala. — 20,752,490 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent
Owned by: Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company

4. Martin Lake coal-fired power plant: Tatum, Texas — 18,701,286 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent
Owned by: Luminant, a subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings

5. Gibson coal-fired power plant: Owensville, Ind. — 17,993,350 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent
Owned by: Duke Energy

6. Monroe coal-fired power plant: Monroe, Mich. — 17,850,342 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent
Owned by: DTE Energy

7. Labadie coal-fired power plant: Labadie, Mo. — 17,365,003 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent
Owned by: Ameren Corporation

8. Colstrip coal-fired power plant: Colstrip, Mont. — 17,120,416 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent
Owned by: PPL Montana

9. General James M. Gavin coal-fired power plant: Cheshire, Ohio — 16,872,856 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent
Owned by: Ohio Power Company, a subsidiary of American Electric Power

10. Rockport coal-fired power plant: Rockport, Ind. — 16,666,035 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent
Owned by: Indiana Michigan Power, a subsidiary of American Electric Power

EPA’s database was released as the agency is working on greenhouse gas standards for new and modified power plants. McCarthy told reporters that the agency hopes to release the rules by the end of the month.