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Waste Projections by State, Excluding Gasification Facilities

Around the country, 70 new conventional coal-fired power plants have been proposed. If built, these plants would produce more than 15 million tons of coal waste per year, contaminated by over 15 thousand tons of toxic metals. Waste projections for new and proposed plants only include fly and bottom ash.

Some new and proposed plants convert coal into a gas before combustion, a process called gasification, which results in a significantly different solid waste than that from conventional coal plants, with a much lower environmental risk. These plants have been excluded from the totals summarized on this page, on the associated new plant listing page, and on the relevant individual state profiles in the list above.

We call the states that would see the most contaminated coal waste from new plants the "Terrible Twenty Five."

State Name Number of New Plants Projected Tons of Coal Waste Projected Tons of Toxic Metals Rank by Coal Waste
Texas 7 3,653,412 1 3,773 1
South Dakota 2 952,630 2 994 2
Nevada 3 888,272 3 820 3
Montana 3 848,278 4 783 4
Florida 2 736,649 5 780 5
South Carolina 2 731,110 6 775 6
Michigan 5 686,879 7 634 8
Illinois 3 632,521 8 670 7
Missouri 4 515,709 9 546 10
Wisconsin 3 512,632 10 565 9
Georgia 2 507,952 11 501 11
Wyoming 4 449,022 12 414 14
Pennsylvania 5 430,275 13 456 13
Kentucky 3 410,548 14 494 12
New Mexico 1 366,937 15 339 17
Ohio 1 325,864 16 392 15
Arkansas 2 316,691 17 292 20
Oklahoma 2 316,691 18 292 21
Iowa 2 312,755 19 289 22
Utah 3 296,257 20 278 23
Louisiana 2 294,414 21 355 16
North Carolina 1 251,099 22 302 18
West Virginia 2 247,775 23 294 19
Nebraska 2 199,063 24 184 25
Virginia 1 173,472 25 184 24
Colorado 1 169,656 26 157 26
North Dakota 1 93,797 27 98 27
Arizona 1 90,483 28 84 28

For a listing of projections by plant, click here.

Sources: Permit applications and news reports for new plants; Energy Information Administration data; NRDC estimates. The most recent data available from the EIA is from 2005 and it is possible that operational changes at particular plants will have changed the yearly waste volumes and disposal methods. Click here for detailed glossary of terms and our methodology.

last revised 3/16/2009

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