Everything’s Bigger In Texas, Including The Carbon Pollution


Coal-fired power Plant, Texas.

The EPA was in Atlanta and New York this week, holding public comment meetings on the design of new standards aimed to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

One of the cities on the EPA’s 11-city “listening tour” is Dallas, Texas. According to data released this week by the EPA, Texas will be an important stop as it has once again won the dubious distinction of being the top emitter of carbon dioxide in the country.

The Department of Energy reported this week that overall, U.S. carbon emissions actually fell in 2011 by 3.8 percent. That’s the second biggest drop since 1990, and unlike in 2009 when emissions dropped by 7.1 percent, the economy actually grew last year by 2.8 percent. Emissions from stationary sources — primarily power plants — fell in Texas too, by 3.4 percent.

However, the state still emitted more than double the carbon dioxide of any other state — over 392 million metric tons. The second-largest emitter was Indiana, with 155.1 million metric tons. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Louisiana, and Alabama also had nothing to boast about.

Texas is number two in terms of both population and area, but it is also home to many of the country’s largest petroleum refineries, power plants and chemical facilities.

A recent study by Environment Texas calculated that, combined, Texas power plants spew out about as much carbon dioxide every year as 45.9 million cars. The worst offenders in Texas were , Martin Lake, W.A. Parish, Monticello, Limestone, and Welsh. Luminant Generation Company LLC’s Martin Lake power plant is the third-most carbon polluting power plant in the country.

“America’s dirtiest power plants are putting Texas in the frying pan when it comes to global warming,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas, in a statement. “If we want a cleaner, safer future for our kids, we can’t afford to ignore power plants’ overwhelming contribution to global warming. For Texas, tackling the problem means cleaning up the dirtiest power plants.”

While Texas has been severely impacted by hurricanes, droughts and wildfires, all linked to climate change, Governor Rick Perry has publicly denied any link between man-made pollution and climate change.