Tennessee Air Some of Nation’s Worst-Polluted, But Future Looks Cleaner

Tennessee has once again been named to a list of states with the worst air pollution from power plants. The National Resources Defense Council puts Tennessee at number eleven on its so-called “Toxic Twenty” list. But the environmental group says there’s reason to be hopeful for the state of Tennessee’s air.

The NRDC also lists which power facilities are the worst polluters in each state. The coal-fired Johnsonville plant is Tennessee’s second worst, accounting for roughly a third of overall toxic emissions in the state. It’s slated for shut down over the next few years, in order to comply with changing federal regulations.

NRDC clean air director John Walae says those new rules mean there will be other closures nationwide, as well as better measures to make sure that power plant emissions are cleaner.

“Tennessee is positioned to benefit in a double fashion; first you’ll see power plants inside the state reducing their pollution and neighboring states where pollution is blowing into Tennessee.”

North Carolina and Georgia are neighbors that have already made slight improvements; Alabama has reduced its toxic emissions by more than twenty percent. Still, the nation’s top ranked polluter is Kentucky. Weather systems don’t often blow that state’s air intoTennessee, but it does share the state’s longest border and its power plants emit roughly four times as much toxic pollution as those in the Volunteer state.

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