Tallying TVA Air Emissions

The Tennessee Valley Authority is emitting plenty of air pollution, according to the "Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States" report released June 2010, ranking fourth in the nation on fossil fuel emissions (in a bad way). The report, a collaboration of Ceres, Constellation Energy, Entergy, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Public Service Enterprise Group, focuses on four power plant pollutants: sulfur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), mercury (Hg), and carbon dioxide (CO2). It says the pollutants "are associated with significant environmental and public health problems, including... global warming, fine particle air pollution... and regional haze."

In terms of just sheer tons of emissions, TVA ranked 4th on SO2, 3rd on NOx, 4th on CO2, and 6th on Hg compared to the other 99 power producers. But it performed much better on emission rates, determined by dividing emissions by electricity produced:

TVA Emission Rates Ranking

(of 100 top U.S. power producers, with one being the highest pollution level)

All Fossil Fuel Plants

SO2 28

NOx 13

CO2 24

Coal Plants Only

SO2 33

NOx 23

CO2 49

Hg 61