A new report puts both Missouri and Illinois among the top 20 states with the most toxic air pollution from power plants. The Natural Resources Defense Council report ranked Missouri 15th and Illinois 16th nationwide, based on 2010 data from the Environmental Protection Agency, the most recent data available. Although their relative rankings changed little from the year before, the NRDC's clean air director John Walke says both states actually reduced their emissions:
"That reflects a 20 percent drop in power plants' toxic pollution in Missouri, and a 16 percent reduction from that sector in Illinois. So those are impressive reductions."
Walke says that nationally, air pollution from the electric sector has dropped as plants have installed pollution controls or switched from coal to natural gas. Missouri still gets more than 80 percent of its electricity from coal; Illinois gets close to half of its energy from nuclear power.
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