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No Coal Ash Regulations This Year


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17 December 2009, 1:25 PM
EPA backs off coal ash plans; industry pressure a likely cause

While we still had hopes to see the first ever coal ash regulations by the end of this year, it seems the EPA might be taking a bit more time before they release their long-awaited proposal. The EPA announced today that, despite repeated claims, it won't be issuing regulations for coal ash ponds by 2010.

It hasn't been an easy road for EPA so far. The power industry has used fear mongering and misinformation to pressure EPA to hold off on regulating one of the nation's biggest wastes, coal ash. Coal ash ponds have poisoned communities and destroyed the environment for decades. It wasn't until a spill in Harriman, Tennessee last December that the agency and the nation recognized the toxic threat at nearly 600 coal ash ponds across the country.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told Congress her agency was planning to regulate coal ash by the end of this year. Just last month, EPA sent proposed regulations to the Office of Management and Budget, the government agency that reviews these things. But industry pressure has been intense. Power companies have been relentlessly lobbying government officials and spreading misinformation. This March, when EPA asked every power company to deliver data about the size, location, age, and last assessment of their coal ash ponds, a few power companies simply ignored the request, stating the data was "confidential business information."

We continue to hope the EPA does the right thing on this and regulates coal ash as a hazardous waste, with the strongest protections under the law. Communities have been waiting for decades for safeguards against this toxic threat, and it's time our government stands up to the pressure from polluters and puts protecting public health ahead of profits.

Without regulations? Wouldn't that be dangerous?
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Coal ash if stored properly and not in contact with water should be OK. However this seems not to be the case, as most coal ash storage will be in contact with water apotek online

That picture is definitely alarming. I don't completely understand all the ends and outs of this issue but I can't believe the government isn't doing something about this. I guess they've got their plate full with the whole oil spill in the Gulf right now. I live here in The Woodlands Texas and am curious how this years hurricane season is going to affect the oil slicks out there. This could be what the houses in Galveston might look like before its all over.

One of the most problematic metal is boron, where is very expensive and difficult to treat. However I know of an economical solution to treat boron. If boron is an issue that is preventing the EPA from coming out with coal ash regulation, I hope they are reading this.
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Coal ash if stored properly and not in contact with water should be OK. However this seems not to be the case, as most coal ash storage will be in contact with water.
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It is a big disappointment that the No Ash Coal Regulation won't see light this year as expected!! EPA has again buckled under the pressure of the polluters sacrificing the lives of the general public putting their life at risk!! I hope it doesn't take another Harriman Spill to bring them to their senses!! It is a relief that we have organizations like Earthjustice who cares more for the people and nature than the people who really should!! Refrigerator Water Filter

Why isn't the excess coal ash made into pulverised fuel ash PFA for building materials, at least it would go to good use. Recycled building materials and PFA have been used for creating sub-bases and base layers of new roads. Property Addict

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Coal ash if stored properly and not in contact with water should be OK. However this seems not to be the case, as most coal ash storage will be in contact with water. When this happen the heavy metals present will "leached" out. One of the most problematic metal is boron, where is very expensive and difficult to treat.

However I know of an economical solution to treat boron. If boron is an issue that is preventing the EPA from coming out with coal ash regulation, I hope they are reading this.

Up until a few months ago, I would have bet EPA regulated ash disposed in wet ponds as hazardous and continued to allow ash to be disposed in lined industrial landfills, Then EPA ORD floated a revised arsenic cancer slope factor that would go from the IRIS 1.75 mg/kd/day to 27.5. Thus, management in lined landfills are 15.7 times the already significant risks they calculated. If they follow the science, coal ash is a hazardous waste.

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