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Ohio’s Muskingum River Plant is the worst offender in the U.S. for hydrochloric acid emissions, according to a new report.

A new report by the Environmental Integrity Project finds several Midwest states are among the most impacted by toxic pollutants from power plants.

The report examines data from the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory and ranks power plants according to their emissions of arsenic, chromium, hydrochloric acid, lead, mercury, nickel, and selenium. The EPA faces a court-ordered Dec. 16 deadline for new regulations for utilities to reduce toxic emissions. The agency estimates the new rules will prevent 6,800 to 17,000 premature deaths.

The EIP’s analysis places Ohio and Indiana second and third worst in the U.S., respectively, for their cumulative rankings of eight types of chemical emissions. Michigan, North Dakota and Missouri are also in the top 15.

The report also finds that levels of many of these pollutants have been declining overall, thanks to state-level regulations:

For EIP director Ian Levin, thought, that cleanup isn’t happening quickly enough.

“The only thing more shocking than the large amounts of toxic chemicals released into the air each year by coal- and oil-fired power plants, is the fact that these emissions have been allowed for so many years,” he says in a news release. “There is no reason for Americans to continue to live with unnecessary risks to their health and to the environment.”

Photo by OZinOH via Creative Commons

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.