Posts tagged: coal ash

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

coal ash

    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Featured Campaigns

Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.


unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

Learn more about Earthjustice.

View Debra Mayfield's blog posts
04 October 2012, 3:15 PM
Author asks, answers: If coal is so clean, why is it killing us?
Dr. Alan Lockwood is Emeritus Professor of Neurology and Nuclear Medicine at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

In the latest episode of Down to Earth, our own Jessica Knoblauch interviews Dr. Alan Lockwood, neurologist and author of the new book, The Silent Epidemic: Coal and the Hidden Threat to Health. Dr. Lockwood reiterates eloquently what we’ve known for decades: there’s nothing clean about coal.

Whether you’re mining it, moving it, washing it, burning it, or disposing of it, coal is dirty, dirty business. And one that is killing us.

View Andrea Delgado's blog posts
27 September 2012, 10:33 AM
Citizens to sue AES corporation for coal ash dumping near homes
A child near an AES coal ash fill site in Guayama, Puerto Rico.

(Earthjustice attorney Lisa Evans is co-author of this blog item)

Fed up with the illegal dumping of toxic waste in their communities, a group of concerned citizens from Guayama and Salinas, Puerto Rico, Comité Dialogo Ambiental (CDA), has drawn a line in the sand. CDA announced yesterday that they will take AES Corporation—theVirginia-based energy giant—to federal court unless it meets the group’s demands and stops the dangerous dumping of toxic waste from its Guayama power plant.
Salinas attorney Ruth Santiago and Public Justice, a national public interest law firm, sent a Notice of Intent to Sue this week on behalf of CDA, asserting that AES’ practice of dumping toxic coal ash in residential areas poses an “imminent and substantial endangerment” to health and the environment.
The AES’ Guayama power plant produces 400,000 tons of coal ash a year – toxic waste that contains arsenic, radioactive isotopes, hexavalent chromium and other heavy metals. But, despite its prodigious generation of dangerous waste, AES has never built a landfill to contain the polluted byproduct since it opened the plant in 2002. Instead, AES sells the waste to local contractors for pennies a ton to build roads and housing developments.

1 Comment   /  
View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
21 September 2012, 2:59 PM
On way out of town, House votes industry a free pass to pollute

It's been a long two years with the 112th Congress. In that time, House leadership has often tried to "help the economy" by wiping away our basic public health and environmental protections—in the process putting thousands of Americans at risk of disease and death from exposure to toxic chemicals and carcinogens in our air and water.

And today, as a final departing gift before recessing for the fall, House leaders put through H.R. 3409—a toxic sell-out bill that decimates our fundamental public health protections with the pretext of addressing the "war on coal." The House passed the bill by a vote of 233 to 175.

To wit: H.R. 3409 includes provisions we believe will:

2 Comments   /  
View Lisa Evans's blog posts
20 September 2012, 9:14 AM
H.R. 3409’s all-out assault on bedrock environmental protections
H.R. 3409 contains five of the most-anti-environmental bills previously passed by a House distinguished by its radical anti-health anti-science bias.

There’s no doubt that this House of Representatives has amassed the most anti-environmental record in history. According to the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the House voted more than 300 times “to block environmental regulations, weaken environmental laws, and stop environmental research” since January 2011.

In a very, very bad year, the “single worst anti-environmental bill” introduced by the House hits the floor this Friday. Officially (but ironically) titled “Stop the War on Coal Act,” H.R. 3409 actually represents the House leadership’s own elaborate and well-funded war on longstanding protections of clean air and water enjoyed by all Americans. In the guise of saving King Coal, Rep. Upton (R-MI) leads a charge up Capitol Hill to shred the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, enthusiastically eviscerating health and environmental safeguards.

View Lisa Evans's blog posts
14 September 2012, 11:27 AM
Legislation would prevent EPA from protecting Americans

Seeking protection from unsafe dumping practices, more than 300 public interest groups from 43 states, representing millions across the nation, sent a letter this week to the U.S. Senate opposing S. 3512, the “Coal Ash Recycling and Oversight Act of 2012.”

The bill, introduced last July by Sens. Hoeven (R-SD), Conrad (D-SD) and Baucus (D- MT), prevents the EPA from finalizing its proposed coal ash rule—or ever issuing regulations for the nation’see second largest industrial waste stream. In its place, S. 3512 encourages inadequate state programs that preserve the status quo and extend the lives of hundreds of leaking toxic dumps.

View Lisa Evans's blog posts
05 September 2012, 2:45 PM
American taxpayers pay billions for lost fish and wildlife
Undoubtedly coal ash ponds are harmful to both our economy and ecology. (EST)

Each year millions of gallons of toxic chemicals flow into lakes, streams, rivers and bays from our nation’s “surface impoundments”—often referred to as “coal ash” ponds. The well-documented result is the death and mutation of fish and wildlife. Recently, two senior scientists examined the damage from those ponds and put a price on their immense harm.

Their article, published last month in Environmental Science and Technology, describes the devastating damage and the high economic cost that is passed onto taxpayers. This article is timely as S.3512, a new coal ash bill in the Senate, threatens to prolong the life of these toxic vats by prohibiting the EPA from finalizing a rule that would require their phase out and put an end to this harmful dumping practice. The peer-reviewed report was completed by A. Dennis Lemly, Ph.D. of the U.S. Forest Service and Joseph Skorupa, Ph.D. of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The scientists conducted a comprehensive review of environmental damage at coal ash ponds since 1967 and found:

  • $2.3 billion in past damage to fish and wildlife over the last 45 years from coal ash impoundments.
  • $3.85 billion in projected damage from coal ash ponds over the next 50 years.
  • $4.82 billion to $7.17 billion potentially saved—simply by protecting fish and wildlife—over the next five decades if coal ash ponds are phased out.
1 Comment   /  
View Lisa Evans's blog posts
28 August 2012, 3:14 PM
But disastrous Senate bill would let utilities off the hook
Kingston, TN coal ash spill.

In a stunning victory for victims of the 2008 Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash disaster, a federal judge in Knoxville, Tennessee ruled that TVA is responsible for damages caused by the massive spill.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan ruled that TVA’s decisions concerning the location and design of the Kingston Fossil Plant’s enormous, six-story coal ash pond, including the practice of repeated vertical expansions and faulty maintenance, led to the failure of the dam. The dam burst Dec. 22, 2008, releasing more than 1 billion gallons of toxic sludge that destroyed or damaged dozens of homes and buried 300 acres of the surrounding area.

Nearly four years after the disaster, the finding of negligence allows the claims from 800 affected property owners to finally move ahead against TVA

View Lisa Evans's blog posts
02 August 2012, 2:16 PM
Despite appearances, the new bill is an attack on public health
This bill is worse than no action at all. (Henri Motte)

Today, Sens. Hoeven (R-SD), Conrad (D-SD) and Baucus (D-MT) introduced a new coal ash bill, the “Coal Ash Recycling and Oversight Act”  This is an amended version of the disastrous vehicle  filed last October by Conrad and Hoeven. The improvements, however, are marginal, and most are nothing more than window dressing.  The 43-page bill contains some of the right words, but nothing in the bill will provide genuine protection for communities whose health and safety is threatened by coal ash. Clearly, the coal industry has largely gotten what they asked for.

View Lisa Evans's blog posts
30 July 2012, 9:09 AM
Are the fires dying down or is the season just starting?
Coal ash spill into Lake Michigan from legacy site at We Energy, Oak Creek, WI (Oct 2011).

Summer on Capitol Hill has been a hot one—especially for coal ash. The 11th hour removal of a devastating coal ash provision tacked onto the federal transportation bill  gave hope to thousands of communities that Congress would not turn its on public health and the environment. When the smoke cleared and President Obama signed a transportation bill without the coal ash provision, those threatened by contaminated air and water breathed a sigh of relief—among them the Moapa Tribe of Paiutes in Nevada; ranchers and residents in Colstrip, Montana; communities in West Virginia and Pennsylvania; and residents along the floodplains of the Missouri River.

The transportation bill was a near fatal blow to EPA’s authority to regulate coal ash, and those who launched the fight vowed to return. In fact, Rep. David McKinley vowed defiantly, “We’re not finished.” Undoubtedly, Rep. McKinley will be back to push his bill for his friends in the coal industry. But who else is included in this ominous “we”? Following the transportation bill negotiations, rumors suggest a Senate bill is currently circulating that picks up where McKinley left off. With only days to the end of the summer legislative session, we may see the new bill as early as this week.

2 Comments   /  
View Chris Jordan-Bloch's blog posts
13 July 2012, 11:01 AM
News report investigates coal ash pollution in Moapa
A cloud of coal ash looms in Moapa, NV. Photo: Chris Jordan-Bloch/Earthjustice

For years, white ash has been blowing across the desert from the Reid Gardner Power Plant right into the homes on the Moapa Paiute Indian Reservation. The Paiutes claim that this ashthe waste from the power plant—is making them sick. The power plant claims that the Paiutes are wrong. This week, a 3-part investigative series from KSNV, the NBC station in Las Vegas, examines the situation in Moapa from three sides. The Paiutes and the power plant each get their sayas does science.

8 Comments   /