Missouri's coal-fired power plants are among the largest sources of carbon dioxide pollution in the country and a significant contributor to global warming.
That's according to a new report released this week by the advocacy group Environment America.
The report ranks Missouri tenth among U.S. states when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Neighboring Illinois ranks seventh.
Environment Missouri's Stuart Keating says right now, there are no federal regulations limiting how much carbon dioxide power plants can release.
"And coal-fired power plants really are the elephant in the room here in terms of carbon dioxide pollution,” Keating said. “They're the single largest source in the country.”
Keating says coal-fired power plants are responsible for about 40 percent of all U.S. CO2 emissions.
According to the report, Ameren's Labadie power plant produced about 19 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2011.
That represents the fourth most emissions of any power plant, nationwide.
Ameren's Mike Menne says Labadie is high on the list because it's very big ― and no technology exists to control carbon dioxide emissions.
"What we try and do is make the plant as efficient as possible, and we have done some of those things over the years at the Labadie plant," Menne said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed limits on CO2 emissions from new power plants in March 2012, but never finalized the regulations. The agency is scheduled to issue an updated draft late next week.
But proposed limits for existing plants aren't expected until June 2014.
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