WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency says heat-trapping gases from U.S. power plants fell 4.6 percent in 2011 from the previous year as plants burned less coal, the biggest source of greenhouse gas pollution.
The report, released Tuesday, said power plants remain the largest stationary source of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that trigger global warming. Power plants were responsible for 2,221 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2011.
The reduction from 2010 reflects a relative decline in the use of coal, the dominant U.S. energy source, and an increase in natural gas and renewable sources that produce lower amounts of greenhouse gases.
Power plants produced roughly one-third of total U.S. emissions, followed by petroleum and natural gas systems, with refineries the third-largest pollution source.