Power plants heating up more than Minnesota with greenhouse gases

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The Environmental Protection Agency just released new information on who’s spewing what, complete with searchable maps. For a data nerd, they’re an almost irresistible game — plug in your state and the type of industry, and it pops up on the map, complete with the amount of each type of greenhouse gas emitted in 2010. 

Big news: coal-burning power plants are the biggest stationary contributors to global warming. (Of course, that doesn’t let cars off the hook. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, “The transportation sector is responsible for approximately 27 percent of America’s greenhouse gas emissions.”)

Want to see which power plants (and other industries) in Minnesota are contributing the most to global warming? Just click here, choose Minnesota, and search for specific greenhouse gases and specific industries. There are 132 facilities in the Minnesota database. And the winner is … the Sherburne County power plant in Becker, Minnesota, which produced 13,518,537 metric tons of CO2. Like the other major greenhouse gas-producing power plants across the country, the Sherburne County facility burns coal. In Minnesota, the other million-ton-plus emitters are: Allen S King in Oak Park Heights, Black Dog in Burnsville, Boswell Energy Center in Cohasset, the Taconite Harbor Energy Center in Schroeder and non-energy companies Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend Refinery in Rosemount, NORTHSHORE MINING CO – SILVER BAY in Silver Bay, and US STEEL – Minntac in Mountain Iron.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s the EPA graphic showing greenhouse gas emissions by industry.