Three of America’s fifty dirtiest power plants, including the Marshall Plant, call North Carolina home

Media Releases

Environment North Carolina

For Immediate Release: September 10th, 2013
Contact: Graham Givens, (804) 363-4434, (919) 833-0015 x104 [email protected]
Three of America’s fifty dirtiest power plants, including the Marshall Plant, call North Carolina home 
Charlotte, NC – On the heels of recent flooding in Charlotte and throughout the state, a new report from Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center ranks power plants across the country for carbon pollution, a leading cause of global warming. Three of the nation’s 50 dirtiest power plants, including the Marshall Plant just north of Charlotte, are located in North Carolina, according to the study. Overall, power plants are the state’s largest single source of the pollution that has been linked to extreme weather like droughts, more intense hurricanes, and flooding.
Speaking at Frazier Park, which was harmed by floods this past summer, advocates called for action to limit carbon pollution from power plants.  

“Charlotte has started to see the effects of global warming with flooding damaging communities and parks, like Frazier Park, all across the state,” said Graham Givens, Clean Energy Associate for Environment North Carolina.  “If we want a cleaner, safer future for our kids, we can’t afford to ignore power plants’ overwhelming contribution to global warming. For North Carolina, 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. Using data from the U.S Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration in 2011, it illustrates the scale of carbon pollution from North Carolina’s power sector and ranks North Carolina’s biggest carbon polluters.
Key findings from the report include:

  • The Marshall plant, near Lake Norman, emitted 10.1 million metric tons of pollution in 2011, the equivalent of 2.09 million cars.
  • Three of the most polluting power plants in the country are in North Carolina: Belews, Roxboro, and Marshall.
  • Belews Creek Power plant near Winston-Salem was the state’s biggest global warming polluter and 16th overall, emitting 13.8 million metric tons of carbon pollution, the equivalent of 2.9 million cars.
  • North Carolina’s power plants are the 12th most polluting in the country, producing as much carbon each year as 15 million cars.
  • North Carolina’s power plants are its single largest source of carbon pollution – responsible for 51% of the carbon pollution in the state.

“From a scientific perspective, the clearest path to mitigating the impacts of on-going climate change is by dramatically reducing carbon emissions. This perspective is overwhelmingly supported by the scientific evidence, and there is no reason to delay the inevitable transition,” said Professor Brian Magi, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. 
“We all deserve clean water, clean air and healthy communities,” said Ronald Ross, local resident and Vice President of Stewart Creek Environmental Association.
This summer, President Obama directed his 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 20th. Americans have already submitted 3.2 million public comments in support of limiting carbon pollution from power plants.
Environment North Carolina urged Senator Hagan and other state leaders to join them in supporting limits on power plants’ carbon pollution. 
“From flooding, to more intense hurricanes, to sea level rise, North Carolina has a lot at stake when it comes to global warming,” said Givens. “We can’t afford to wait to act on climate, so we need Sen. Hagan and all of our leaders to support rules to clean up pollution from the largest source—power plants.”