Tri-State Power Plant in Craig is not among the nation's heaviest polluting power plants in three of four categories studied, a recent report shows.
The report, written by the Environmental Integrity Project in Washington, D.C., measured emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide in 2004 and mercury emissions in 2002.
The report ranks the top 50 power plants in terms of total tonnage of emissions and emission rate, which is based on pounds of emission per megawatt-hour of power generated.
The Craig facility is one of two power plants that rank in the top 50 in total carbon dioxide emission and carbon dioxide emission rate, but doesn't crack the top 50 in the other three categories.
The report is based on numbers from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration.
Tri-State spokesman Jim Van Someran credited a recent $120 million project to lower nitrogen oxide emission with the plant's low rating.
"We fall well under any state or federally regulated environmental standards," Van Someran said.
Tri-State's carbon dioxide emissions, which are not regulated by the EPA, are among the highest in the nation, however.
The plant ranks No. 28 in carbon dioxide emission rate and No. 50 in tons of carbon dioxide produced.
The emission rate at the Craig plant was 2,441.31 lbs. per megawatt-hour, compared with the national average of 1,970 lbs. per megawatt-hour.
The Hayden power plant ranked No. 39 in emission rate.
Ilan Levin, counsel at the Environmental Integrity Project and one of the report's authors, said the carbon dioxide emissions show the Craig plant could be doing better.
"By any measure, any way you look at it, Craig is one of the worst polluters for carbon dioxide in the nation," Levin said.
The report says carbon dioxide is "one of several greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change."
Jerry Walker, vice president of environmental service for Tri-State, said while carbon dioxide emissions at the plant are high, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.
"Carbon dioxide is not regulated and has not been categorized as a pollutant (by the EPA)," Walker said.
Van Someran said Tri-State has no immediate plans to lower carbon dioxide emissions.
"We have no plans on the drawing board," he said.
Brandon Johansson can be reached at824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org