Fa­cil­i­ties named in EPA re­port in­creased in 2015

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By DOUG WALKER

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.

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