When is hazardous coal ash not considered hazardous? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, when you dump it in a landfill as opposed to a pond. This approach is currently being floated by the EPA in its plans to regulate coal ash later this year. Coal ash—the waste left over after coal is burned at coal-fired power plants—is full of dangerously high levels of arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium and other hazardous metals. Cancer rates skyrocket near coal ash dumps that have leaked into drinking water supplies.
When venerable television news show 60 Minutes takes notice of a story, it's got to be an important issue. On this Sunday, October 4, 60 Minutes is going to look at one of the biggest waste problems in our country: coal ash. From the preview on their website:
The last year has been a roller coaster ride for mountaintop removal. Despite a loss in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in February (which we're now appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court), the U.S. Senate was taking up the fight with some public hearings back in March.
Right whales are called such because years ago whale hunters thought these particular whales were simply the "right" ones to hunt. Their distinct V-shaped blow of water alerted whalers, and their habit of swimming near the surface made them easy targets.
Now, decades later, these endangered whales are swimming into danger again because of their propensity to swim near the surface.
It’s been seven months since a billion gallons of coal ash burst through a failed construction dike in Harriman, Tennessee, covering 300 acres, destroying homes, flooding properties and poisoning rivers and wells. According to a recently released report, it was a disaster waiting to happen.
The email came late Wednesday afternoon, just three days before the July 11 premiere that's been planned for months. The South Charleston Museum in West Virginia, which had agreed to show the documentary, "Coal Country," was backing out because of "concerns" about security at the event.
Dr. Margaret Palmer is a world renowned water biologist who works at the university of Maryland, but has a home in West Virginia and family from the Appalachia region. "Headwater streams are exponentially more important than their size would suggest," said Dr. Palmer in testimony before the Senate. She compared headwater streams to the small capillaries in our lungs that distribute the oxygen necessary for life to our bodies.
The first witness, an EPA official, was questioned extensively about the impacts both locally and globally of destroying entire forests, flattening mountains, and increasing flooding as a result of mountaintop removal mining.
The hearing started promptly at 3:30 pm with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), a cosponsor of the Appalachia Restoration Act, stating that mountaintop removal mining "adversely effects the economies of the region."