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Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 11:51am

Georgia 9th In Power Plant Pollution

The Natural Resources Defense Council used industry data to rank state's toxic air pollution from power plants in 2009. Georgia came in 9th between West Virginia and North Carolina.

The state’s emissions contained more than 18 million pounds of harmful chemicals, according to the report, including toxic gases, metals and mercury.

The council’s John Walke says Georgia Power’s coal-fired plants are the biggest polluters.

"Power plants in the state of Georgia are responsible for just under 50 percent of all toxic air pollution produced in the state."

Georgia Power spokesperson Konswello Monroe says the company has asked the state Public Service Commission for the OK to close some of its oldest and dirtiest coal plants.

"We have requested from the PSC to decertify units 1 and 2 at Plant Branch in Putnam County and also in 2006 we announced plans to retire two small coal units at Plant McDonough. So we are putting in measures in order to help control releases into the air."

Monroe says Georgia Power has also spent billions of dollars on emissions reducing technology.

The NRDC report comes as the federal Environmental Protection Agency prepares to impose stricter pollution standards on industry.

Walke says several of Georgia’s U.S. congressman are trying to delay the action.

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