Texas leads the nation in greenhouse gas emissions

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New data released by the Environmental Protection Agency this week shows Texas power plants, oil refineries, and other industrial facilities pumped out 294 million tons of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases in 2010, more than the next two top emitters, Pennsylvania and Florida, combined. The EPA says it collected data from more than 6,700 industrial facilities around the country that release at least 25,000 tons of greenhouse gas into the air every year, comparable to emissions from burning 131 railcars of coal. Of Texas' 673 power plants, refineries, and other large industrial facilities tagged by the EPA, Luminant's East Texas Martin Lake lignite-burning power plant topped the list, releasing 18.7 tons of greenhouse gases in 2010. The East Texas power plant was nation's fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2010, according to the EPA's list. (Click on the chart below to see Texas' top ten greenhouse gas emitters for 2010)

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The agency's release of its new easily searchable database will likely further fuel the fight brewing between Texas and the EPA. Texas has so far been the only state openly refusing to adhere to EPA's new nationwide greenhouse gas emissions standards – the EPA, in turn, took the rare step of taking over greenhouse gas permitting in Texas for new power plants, refineries, and other large industrial facilities. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has taken the fight to the courts, hoping to stop the new regs.

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Along with Luminant's Martin Lake plant, five other power plants and ExxonMobil's Baytown refinery made EPA's list of the top 50 greenhouse-gas emitters in the country.  Coal-fired power plants accounted for 61 percent of the state's reported emissions and oil refineries accounted for nearly 15 percent of emissions, while chemical and other industrial facilities comprised about 18 percent of Texas emissions. Not surprisingly, CPS Energy's J.K. Spruce and Deeley coal-fired power plants topped Bexar county's list, collectively emitting nearly 13 million tons of greenhouse gases in 2010. Click on the chart below for a list of other Bexar County emitters that made the EPA's list:

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