PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center unveiled a new study revealing Pennsylvania's top climate polluters in 2021. The statewide non-profit refers to them as the "Dirty Dozen."
The center's deputy director, Ashleigh Deemer, said these 12 facilities produce nearly one-fifth of the commonwealth's climate pollution and half of them are located in southwestern Pennsylvania. Deemer said they released nearly 46 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses in 2021.
The facilities include Conemaugh and Homer City power plants in Indiana County as well as Keystone, which is in Armstrong County and is the worst climate polluter overall. All three plants are slated to close within the next couple of years.
In Allegheny County, the one non-power plant is U.S. Steel Edgar Thompson in Braddock.
Local leaders said all of this pollution affects residents, and they need to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
"In Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and southwestern Pennsylvania, we have higher asthma rates than any other regions in the country and those environmental challenges disproportionately impact our lowest income and most at risk population," said Jake Pawlak, the deputy mayor of the city of Pittsburgh.
"For Pennsylvania to be the fourth largest state emitting these pollutants in the country, that's really huge. So it is a big problem, but it also means we have an enormous opportunity to help solve the problem right here," said Deemer.
The report lists several solutions to help protect the planet. That includes accelerating the transition to clean, renewable energy and continuing to participate in theto reduce pollution.
PennEnvironment said they'll urge the EPA to enforce the strongest standards to cut carbon emissions from power plants. The EPA is expected to announce new requirements in the coming days.
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