Still one of the most polluted states in the nation, Pennsylvania ranks third behind only Kentucky and Ohio in generation of toxic air pollution, with 78 percent of that total coming from coal-fired power plants.
Toxic air pollution generated by Pennsylvania power plants represents 10 percent of the total from all U.S. power plants.
But some good news can make Pennsylvanians breathe a bit easier: From 2009 to 2010, total toxic air pollution from all sources in the state dropped by 20 percent, including a 24 percent decline in toxic air pollution from coal-fired power plants.
On Thursday, the Natural Resources Defense Council released its second annual report, “Toxic Power: How Power Plants Contaminate our Air and States,” which lists the 20 states that produce the most toxic pollution. Pennsylvania improved slightly in its ranking, falling from second place in 2011 (based on 2009 data) with 50.5 million pounds of total toxic emissions to third place this year (based on 2010 data) with 40.3 million pounds.