Pa. ranks 3rd in global warming pollution, coal is blamed - abc27 WHTM

Pa. ranks 3rd in global warming pollution, coal is blamed

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Coal is king in Pennsylvania when it comes to producing electricity.

But it's also a royal producer of pollution linked to global warming.

"When it comes to global warming pollution, our power plants are the elephant in the room," said Lina Blount of the environmentalist group PennEnvironment.

The group released a study Tuesday morning in the Capitol showing Pennsylvania is the third dirtiest state in power plant pollution.

The Brunner Island plant in York is named the 59th dirtiest in the entire country.

The environmentalists called for tougher emissions standards all around and for the worst of the worst to be completely shut down.

"The evidence is there that something is going amiss and we have to take action now to limit global warming pollution from these plants," Blount said.

"That's nonsense," Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Allegheny/Washington) said.

Saccone has a coal-fired plant in his western Pennsylvania district. He says coal provides cheap energy and jobs and, he says, plants are cleaner than ever.

"To what level do you want to take it? Do you want to take it to another part per billion and lose 350 jobs to do that? How much cleaner would it be to take it to the next level and is it really necessary? The answer is no," he said.

Environmentalists expect the Obama administration to release tougher federal emissions standards later this month and during Tuesday's press conference called on U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey to support those tougher standards.

The conservative Commonwealth Foundation worries about the government mandating energy policy.

"When you have the government picking winners and losers it doesn't work and electricity prices go up," said CF's Katrina Anderson.

Former DEP Secretary John Hanger is running for governor. He says Pennsylvania's coal plants are cleaner than they used to be, but not as clean as they could be. But he admits while wind and solar should be encouraged, the reality is coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear are all needed.

"All of these fuel sources have some sort of risk associated with them," Hanger said. "We need to regulate them all strongly. We need to make them as clean as possible and we do need to accelerate building more renewables and using more energy efficiently."


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