Report: Plant Scherer largest single source of climate change pollution in nation

awomack@macon.comSeptember 19, 2013 

Monroe County’s Plant Scherer is the largest single source of climate change pollution in the nation, according to a report released Thursday by Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center.

The nonprofit organization announced the report’s release at a news conference, a day before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release a set of rules governing new coal power plants.

Jennette Gayer, a state advocate for Environment Georgia, said Georgia ranks eighth in the nation in carbon pollution.

Plant Scherer, a coal-fired power plant in Juliette, emits more carbon pollution than the state of Maine, she said.

Gayer said carbon pollution has been linked to climate change, which has affected Georgia recently.

“We’ve had quite a roller coaster of extreme drought followed by extreme downpours,” she said.

State Rep. James Beverly, D-Macon, also spoke at the news conference, saying that the pollution created by power plants such as Plant Scherer threaten the state’s agricultural economic engine.

“Agribusiness in the state of Georgia is big business,” he said. “It’s what runs Georgia.”

An example of the impact of the pollution can be seen in the peach crop, which requires a certain number of cool days to mature properly, Beverly said.

“We have some dirty coal plants and we have to deal with that in a very real way,” he said.

The new federal rules set to be released Friday will affect a proposed coal-fire power plant in Washington County, Gayer said.

A separate set of rules for existing power plants is set to be released in 2014, she said.

Gayer said it’s important that Georgians make an effort to limit the carbon pollution that’s fueling climate change because scientists predict extreme weather will become increasingly more frequent and severe.

Nationally, 50 of the dirtiest power plants emit more carbon pollution than most of the countries in the world, she said.

The state needs to use more renewable energy sources, explore ways to use energy more efficiently and clean up existing coal-fired power plants, Gayer said.

“We need to overall lower our emissions,” she said.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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