Facilities named in EPA report increased in 2015
Greenhouse gas emissions were up at least 7.5 percent in Floyd County in 2015, according to a report released this week by the Environmental Protection Agency indicating three facilities in Floyd County with reportable levels of emissions.
The three facilities named in the report are Georgia Power’s Plant Hammond, the International Paper plant and the Walker Mountain Landfill.
The EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program requires facilities that emit above 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide to report their emissions.
Smaller facilities are not included in the figures, so the report isn’t a complete picture of the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in the area.
Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and fluorinated CHCs.
Christie St. Clair, an EPA spokeswoman, said all emissions are converted to metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent for comparison purposes.
Zachary Taylor, professor of environmental sciences at Berry College, said greenhouse gases are primary contributors to global warming.
But Taylor said there aren’t significant problems related to public health as a result of increasing greenhouse gas levels.
“We’re nowhere near putting enough greenhouses gases into the air where it would be unhealthy to breathe, but it is related because if we’re burning coal or oil to produce greenhouse gases you’re pro- ducing air pollution as well,” he said.
Plant Hammond in Coosa reported 1,311,394 metric tons of greenhouse gases last year, up 6.1 percent from 2014.
The increase in greenhouse gas emissions at Plant Hammond is attributed to an increase in electricity generation at the plant, said Craig Bell, a spokesman for Georgia Power.
The International Paper facility in Coosa was up 16.4 percent from 2014 to 2015, producing 349,396 metric tons.
“In 2010, we set 12 voluntary goals aimed at improving our impact on people and the planet, one of them (is) our commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Jenna Guzman, communications manager at the Rome plant. “Our 2020 goal was to reduce (greenhouse gas) emissions by 20 percent.”
However, the EPA report shows that the plant in Coosa has reduced emissions by 18.7 percent since 2010.
The Walker Mountain landfill reported 148,024 metric tons, up 1.7 percent from the previous year.
Power plants were responsible for close to 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions nationwide in 2015, the report stated.
Georgia Power’s Plant Bowen, near Cartersville, did report a decline of 20.1 percent in its greenhouse gas emissions from 2014 to 2015. The emissions dropped from 15.6 million metric tons in 2014 to 12.5 million metric tons in 2015.
Nationwide, the EPA report stated emissions from the large industrial sources in 2015 were down by 4.9 percent from 2014.
Janet McCabe, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, said the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program is providing high-quality, long-term data for the largest emitters, and contributing important details on greenhouse gas emissions trends.