Information is power and as it turns out power equals emissions. Or at least that’s what a new comprehensive database of the United States’ 6,700 biggest stationary emitters put together by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says. According to the new EPA database, power plants were the largest stationary sources of direct emissions with an incredible 2.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2010 alone. With the EPA recently putting new emissions reduction laws into action, this database should be a great resource for businesses to identify those leading emissions reductions and shed light on exactly how they’re managing to make it work. Incidentally it is also a great resource to find out who the nasty emitters around you are. Check it out for yourself: the EPA has now compiled the data and put it online in this super fun online emissions tool. Go ahead and type in your zip code and see who your closest emitters are – the culprits might surprise you.

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The EPA instituted the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule in order to gather pertinent information of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large sources in the United States to help influence future policy. The law states that any stationary building that emits 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHGs must report all emissions and other relevant information to the EPA. In their data collection the EPA found 100 facilities that reported over 7 million metric tons each including 96 power plants, two iron and steel mills and two refineries.

“Thanks to strong collaboration and feedback from industry, states and other organizations, today we have a transparent, powerful data resource available to the public,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “The GHG Reporting Program data provides a critical tool for businesses and other innovators to find cost- and fuel-saving efficiencies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and foster technologies to protect public health and the environment.”

Lisa Jackson and the EPA spent the last year going full force at emitters. They passed the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, new CAFE standards for vehicles, and announced new standards limiting mercury emissions among other milestones. Armed with information about the exact emissions levels of the nation’s largest polluters, we suppose 2012 will be full of enlightening regulations introduced by the EPA and buoyed by the daunting statistics in their new GHG database.

+ The GHG data tool

+ The Environmental Protection Agency