Released earlier this month on a searchable computerized map, the data identifies large, stationary sources of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases that a strong majority of climate scientists say is the main cause of global warming.
As of 2010, the most current data available, the top emitter in Hampton Roads was Chesapeake Energy Center, a coal plant located along Elizabeth River in Chesapeake. It spewed out nearly 3.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas.
The second biggest emitter was Yorktown Power Station, a power plant on the York River that burns mostly coal and some oil. It contributed slightly more than half the amount of gases that Chesapeake did.
Rounding out the top five are: Rock-Tenn Co., owner of West Point paper mill, the Yorktown oil refinery, and International Paper mill in Isle of Wight County.
Dominion Virginia Power, owner of the two power plants, announced in September it start closing Chesapeake and Yorktown in 2015. It plans to convert part of the Yorktown plant to natural gas, a fossil fuel that burns cleaner than coal.
Anticipating tougher pollution control standards on coal plants, Dominion has said it’s more cost-effective to close the plants in lieu of renovating them.
Texas-basedWestern Refining Inc., which stopped refining oil in Yorktown in August 2010, announced last month it sold the 570-acre property to Plains All American. Also a Texan company, Plains All American officials said they will not reopen the refinery.
International Paper closed the Isle of Wight mill in 2010, but it has since announced it will spend $83 million to renovate part of the facility to produce fluff pulp, which is used to make diapers, feminine hygiene products and other goods.
At least two other companies have submitted letters of interest to International Paper about leasing space in the mill.
The EPA data doesn’t include moving objects, such as motor vehicle traffic, which in most metropolitan areas contributes significant greenhouse gas emissions.
It also doesn’t consider emissions from container ships — the EPA has set tougher standards for those ships it says will prevent thousands of premature deaths and millions of work days lost by 2030.
The data can be found here.