Searching for Southern Co. - Pollution Getting Worse

Power plant pollution is getting worse in Georgia, according to a new report conducted by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

PIRG looked at the emissions of three major pollutants from 500 power plants nationwide between 1995 and 2000.

It's no shocker that much of the increased pollution came from Georgia Power coal-burning plants.

From 1995 to 2000, the company's Plant Yates, near Newnan and within the metro Atlanta area that's out of compliance with federal clean air standards, pumped out 107 percent more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Plant Hammond, near Rome, put out 86 percent more carbon dioxide.

Nationwide, Georgia experienced the fourth largest increase of sulfur dioxide, which has been linked to causing asthma and heart disease.

Again, Plant Yates led the state in increases, emitting 122.5 percent more sulfur dioxide in 2000 than it did in 1995. Plant Wansley, in Heard County just outside the non-attainment area, increased its sulfur dioxide output by 29 percent.

Georgia also was fourth nationwide in increases of nitrogen dioxide, the key component of smog, which causes more than 1,500 premature deaths a year in Georgia. Plant Hammond's nitrogen dioxide output was up 108 percent and Plant Yates' was up 81 percent.??

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