New resource: the United States’ worst climate polluters

Media Contacts
Lisa Frank

Executive Director, Washington Legislative Office, Environment America; Vice President and D.C. Director, The Public Interest Network

For immediate release: Monday, May 8, 2023

New resource: the United States’ worst climate polluters

Some American power plants spew more greenhouse gas emissions than entire states

BOSTON — No power plants that burn fossil fuels are good for the environment, but some are much worse than others. Frontier Group and Environment America have crunched the numbers to determine the top climate-polluting facilities in the United States. The data is broken down in many ways, so reporters and the public can find polluters near them. Of the not-so-nifty 50 U.S. facilities that emit the most greenhouse gas pollution into our air, 45 are power plants. 

“America’s most polluting power plant produces more climate pollution than the entire state of Maine. That’s crazy,” said Tony Dutzik, Frontier Group’s associate director and senior policy analyst. “We know how to produce electricity without belching out carbon pollution. There’s no reason why, in 2023, the list of biggest climate polluters should still be dominated by power plants.”    

Top five greenhouse gas emitting facilities in U.S., 2021 (data: U.S. EPA)

Facility name City State Total 2021 GHG emissions (metric tons) Industry
James H. Miller Jr. Quinton AL 20,998,639 Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation 
Labadie Labadie MO 15,760,177 Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation 
Monroe Monroe MI 14,379,178 Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation 
W. A. Parish Thompsons TX 13,911,354 Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation 
Martin Lake Tatum TX 13,515,092 Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation 

It’s hard to avoid air contaminated by the 50 most egregious climate polluters: They sit in 26 states from Pennsylvania down to Florida in the East, Montana down to Arizona in the West and a majority of states in between.

“With the cost of renewable energy falling and the amount of clean wind and solar power on the grid surging, there is simply no excuse for allowing America’s biggest polluters to continue to harm our climate and our health,” said Lisa Frank, the executive director of Environment America’s Washington legislative office. “We’re eagerly waiting for President Joe Biden to propose greenhouse gas emission standards for power plants that could require many of these facilities – which have been polluting our air for decades – to finally clean up their act.”

The Biden administration is expected to announce those new standards soon.