West Virginia ranks 7th-worst in the country when it comes to mercury pollution from its coal-fired power plants, according to a study released yesterday by a group of environmental organizations. Virginia's plants ranked 27th worst for mercury pollution.
In the report, America's Top Power Plant Toxic Air Polluters released this month, Environment Virginia and the Sierra Club found that West Virginia power plants released nearly 2,500 pounds of mercury in 2010, while mercury emissions in Virginia totaled 659 pounds. Maryland emitted just 154 pounds by comparison. Mercury emissions in Maryland are on the decline, due, in part, to state laws requiring more rigorous pollution controls, the groups argue in the report [PDF].
One West Virginia plant, American Electric Power's John Amos plant in Putnam County, was among the top 25 dirtiest plants in the country according to the rankings. The EPA is expected to announce new federal limits on mercury and other air pollution from power plants this week.
Some power companies have scaled back or delayed plans for coal fired plants in anticipation of the new limits.