Updated: Jan 4
In a 2016 investigation, the Center for Public Integrity (in partnership with the Weather Channel and USA Today) identified 22 industrial sites in the United States that are in the top 100 for toxic air releases and also in the top 100 for greenhouse-gas emissions. These 22 sites are known as super polluters, and Indiana is home to five of them—more than any other state.¹
All five of Indiana’s super polluters are coal plants. Each year, they pump out millions of tons of greenhouse gases that fuel the climate crisis. These coal plants also spread toxic compounds that damage the public health of surrounding communities. They increase rates of asthma, heart attacks, cancer, and COVID-19 deaths.¹
Here are Indiana’s five super polluters:
1. Gibson Station
Rhatsa26X, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
The Gibson Station is a coal plant run by Duke Energy in Gibson County. In 2014, it was fourth in the nation for greenhouse gas emissions. Each year, it releases 16,891,617 tons of carbon dioxide, 14,963 tons of sulfur dioxide, and 13,190 tons of nitrogen oxides. This causes 66 heart attacks, 714 asthma attacks, and 110 deaths per year.²
2. Rockport Plant
Thomas Hughes, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
Located in Spencer County, this coal plant is run by Indiana-Michigan Power, a subsidiary of American Electric Power. In 2014, it was sixth in the nation for greenhouse gas emissions. It emits 12,446,954 tons of carbon dioxide, 24,341 tons of sulfur dioxide, and 12,888 tons of nitrogen oxides each year, which causes 104 heart attacks, 1,140 asthma attacks, and 176 deaths.²
3. Petersburg Generating Station
This coal plant is located in Pike County and run by Indianapolis Power & Light, a subsidiary of the AES Corporation. It releases 10,697,647 tons of carbon dioxide, 12,838 tons of sulfur dioxide, and 10,813 tons of nitrogen oxides every year, causing 150 heart attacks, 1,647 asthma attacks, and 251 deaths.²
4. Schahfer Generating Station
The Northern Indiana Public Service Co., a subsidiary of NiSource, runs this coal plant in Jasper County. It emits 5,776,818 tons of carbon dioxide, 1,441 tons of sulfur dioxide, and 4,383 tons of nitrogen oxides each year, resulting in 14 heart attacks, 152 asthma attacks, and 23 deaths.²
5. Warrick Power Plant
This coal plant is mainly operated by Alcoa in Warrick County. One of its four units is jointly run by both Alcoa and Vectren. In 2019, the Warrick plant emitted 1,805,339 tons of carbon dioxide, 648 tons of sulfur dioxide, and 3,136 tons of nitrogen oxides.³