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Virginia ranked 12th in toxic air pollution from coal-fired power plants

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Virginia is ranked as having the 12th worst air pollution from coal-fired power plants, according to an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The report issued Thursday said residents of Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania are exposed to more toxic air pollution from coal-fired power plants than in any other state,

At the same time, the report found a 19 percent decrease in all air toxics emitted from power plants in 2010, the most recent data available, compared to 2009 levels.

NRDC attributed this decline to two factors:  the increasing use of natural gas to generate power and the installation of pollution controls in anticipation of new rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.

NRDC found that coal- and oil-fired power plants still contribute nearly half (44 percent) of all the toxic air pollution reported to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The report also ranks the states by the amount of their toxic air pollution levels.

The states on the “Toxic 20” list (from worst to best) are:

1. Kentucky
2. Ohio
3. Pennsylvania
4. Indiana
5. West Virginia
6. Florida
7. Michigan
8. North Carolina
9. Georgia
10. Texas
11. Tennessee
12. Virginia
13. South Carolina
14. Alabama
15. Missouri
16. Illinois
17. Mississippi
18. Wisconsin
19. Maryland
20. Delaware

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