America’s Dirtiest Power Companies, Ranked
Coal-fired power plants are the single biggest driver of global climate change in the United States. That’s why President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is moving quickly to put the finishing touches on a new set of regulations, called the Clean Power Plan, that aim to reduce the nation’s overall carbon footprint 30 percent by 2030 by cracking down on emissions from the energy sector.
Unsurprisingly, many power companies—particularly those that rely on coal as their main source of fuel—are crying foul. Recently, one major coal company and a dozen coal-reliant states tried to block the new rules in federal court. (The court decided last month not to hear the challenge, since the rules haven’t yet been finalized.) And this week, executives from two of the country’s biggest power companies met with White House officials in an attempt to persuade them that the crackdown would be “too much too soon.”
As it turns out, those same two companies—Duke Energy and American Electric Power—emit more carbon pollution than any other power producers in the country. That’s according to a new report released from a coalition of environmental groups and power companies, which draws on public data from the EPA and the Energy Information Administration to reveal the carbon footprints of the 100 biggest power producers in the nation. Many of the names in the database, like AEP or California’s Pacific Gas & Electric, might be familiar from your monthly bill, depending on where you live. The list does leave out some big utilities, like New York’s Con Ed, that primarily distribute power they purchase wholesale from someone else. That said, the database offers a pretty comprehensive snapshot of the companies most responsible for producing climate-changing emissions in the US.