Arizona Ranks 14th for Global Warming Pollution from Power Plants

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Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center

Phoenix – On the heels of another summer of western wildfires, a new report from Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center finds that Arizona ranks 14th in the country for most carbon pollution from its power plants, the state’s largest single source of global warming pollution.

“America’s dirtiest power plants are the elephant in the room when it comes to global warming,” said Bret Fanshaw, State Advocate for Environment Arizona.  “If we want a cleaner, safer future for our kids, we can’t afford to ignore power plants’ overwhelming contribution to global warming. For Arizona, tackling the problem means cleaning up the dirtiest power plants.”

The report, titled, America’s Dirtiest Power Plants, comes as the Obama administration readies a new set of rules to tackle global warming. It illustrates the scale of carbon pollution from Arizona’s power sector and ranks Arizona’s biggest carbon polluters.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Arizona’s power plants are the 14th most polluting in the country.
  • In Arizona, the top five most polluting power plants are:
  1. Navajo Generating Station
  2. Springerville Generating Station
  3. Cholla Power Plant
  4. Coronado Generating Station
  5. Mesquite Generating Station
  • Arizona’s power plants are the state’s single largest source of carbon pollution – responsible for 55 percent of statewide emissions.
  • The coal-fired Navajo Generating Station is the 10th most carbon-polluting power plant in the nation.
  • Arizona’s power plants produce as much carbon each year as 11.3 million cars.

“This study once again confirms the diagnosis: our planet is sick with a fever, and human activity – particularly the burning of fossil fuels – is the major cause of the sickness,” said Pastor Doug Bland of Arizona Interfaith Power and Light. “Now, just as the weather, firestorms and droughts are increasing in intensity and frequency, the house that used to protect us is in shambles. Yet we continue feeding the stove. It’s time we stop and recognize our folly.”

This summer, President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, the largest single source of carbon pollution. In a major step, the EPA is expected to propose an updated rule for cutting carbon pollution from new power plants on September 20. Arizonans have already submitted over 113,000 public comments in support of limiting carbon pollution from power plants.

 “The first step is to not repeat the mistakes of the past. We need strong rules based on science to make sure that power companies never again build another polluter like the Navajo Generating Station that would wreck our climate with runaway carbon pollution,” said Fanshaw.

Environment Arizona called on state leaders like U.S. Representatives Kyrsten Sinema and Ed Pastor to join them in supporting limits on power plants’ carbon pollution.

“Arizona is the 14th biggest emitter of carbon pollution from the biggest sources, so it’s critical that members of Arizona’s congressional delegation step up and support action,” said Fanshaw.

Environment Arizona activists (left), Pastor Doug Bland (middle) and Bret Fanshaw (right) speak to the media about power plant pollution in Arizona. Photo: Will Greene