Dirty power plants list: We're No. 1!

Texas is tops when it comes to the number of power plants to make the annual list of the 50 dirtiest power plants in the nation, with five plants, according to the Environmental Integrity Project. Pennsylvania and Indiana have four plants each; Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia each have three.
According to the report:

Even as some of America’s dirtiest power plants start to clean up their act in terms of certain toxic emissions, the carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution linked to global warming from large, old, and inefficient electricity-generating facilities continues unchecked and could rise 34 percent by 2030.

Here’s a link to the site with a sortable database of the power plants by different types of emissions.
Not surprising these are all coal-fired plants. While the group acknowledges there have been improvements in some emissions, such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx), they note CO2 (which is unregulated) is climbing and Mercury has been flat.

W.A. Parish power plant in Ft. Bend County.

There are a number of Houston ties to the list. No. 6. on the list is the massive W.A. Parish plant in Fort Bend County, owned by NRG. Its massive silhoutte can be seen from downtown on a clear day. Houston-based Reliant Energy operates No. 29 on the list, the Conemaugh plant in Indiana, Penn., and Dynegy’s Baldwin Energy Complex in Illinois is No. 33.
Dallas-based TXU (or Luminant, as the power plant business is now known has No. 5 and No. 11 on the list, the Martin Lake plant in Rusk County and Monticello in Titus County.
It’s worth noting the Parish plant has improved its performance significantly in recent years, that Dynegy agreed to extensive environmental upgrades at its plants and TXU pledged to take measures to cut mercury.
Scott Segal, a Bracewell & Giuliani attorney and director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, “a group of power-generating companies working on clean-air policy” called the report misleading because it ignores improvements made in overall emissions over the years:

Another shot of the Parish plant, courtesy of pilot and blogger Robert Baird.

Some environmentalists seem convinced that recent interest in newer, cleaner coal plants is based on a desire to beat the deadline for carbon legislation. This notion is based on a false premise. Carbon legislation is still in the planning stages with significant differences of opinion about the mechanism and timing of controls. Energy companies are hardly likely to commit billions of dollars on such a moving target.
The real reason for building new power plants? Need. America’s growing economy and population necessitates affordable and reliable electric power. Coal achieves these important objectives. Further, coal plants currently on the table are technologically advanced and well controlled.