Posts tagged: Tr-Ash Talk

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Tr-Ash Talk


    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.

ABOUT EARTHJUSTICE'S BLOG

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 Jared Saylor's blog posts
21 November 2013, 12:22 PM
There's no such thing as "clean coal" in Alaska
Coal ash being used to fill a mined peat bog adjacent to Creamer's Field Wildlife Refuge. Fairbanks, AK. (Photo courtesy of Russ Maddox)

Alaska—the last frontier of untamed American wilderness. Unfortunately, it’s also home to dirty coal. The second part of our ongoing series about communities dealing with coal ash problems takes us far north where in Fairbanks four coal-fired power plants generate coal ash used as fill for nearby lowlands.

Russ Maddox, a 2013 Clean Air Ambassador and member of the Sierra Club Council of Leaders Executive Committee, Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance, and Alaska Youth for Environmental Action, lives in Seward, AK, which deals with the effects of coal exports and coal dust. In 2012, Russ wrote about the problems of coal ash in his community for unEarthed. But earlier this month, he published an opinion piece in the Alaska Dispatch on the inferiority of coal mined in Alaska and burned at Alaskan power plants.

Russ Maddox.

We’re pleased to share Russ’ opinion piece here and look forward to continue our work together with him and his community to establish federal safeguards for coal ash disposal:

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
13 November 2013, 3:18 PM
Unregulated danger lurks in more than 1,400 coal ash sites
The massive coal ash spill in Tennessee in 2008. (TVA)

It was early October, but the trees were still a vibrant green. Fall had not yet arrived and winter was still a distant concern in Kingston, TN. Fishing boats and jet skis were tied to docks along the Clinch River, and even though it was a Thursday morning it was obvious that folks in this small community were already gearing up for weekend fun.

This was the scene a few weeks ago when I arrived in Kingston with a group of about 40 journalists and activists to tour the ongoing cleanup of one of the biggest environmental disasters in our nation’s history. Five years before at 1 a.m., Dec. 22, 2008, as the town slept, a coal ash dumpsite at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston power plant burst through a poorly constructed levee, releasing more than a billion gallons of toxic waste onto the sleeping town. A rumbling flood of contaminated waste rushed nearly six miles downstream. Donna Lisenby, of Waterkeeper Alliance, canoed down the rivers among giant “ashbergs,” 12-foot tall mounds of wet coal ash, as she tested waters shortly after the disaster.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Lisa Evans's blog posts
06 November 2013, 3:26 PM
New report talks trash about Michigan's ash
In Michigan, no regulations prohibit dangerous dumping of coal ash. (Clean Water Fund)

Clean Water Fund’s new report, Toxic Trash Exposed: Coal Ash Pollution in Michigan, reveals widespread damage from coal ash dumping in Michigan. The report discloses dozens of waterways and aquifers already poisoned and warns of statewide harm due to failure to impose reasonable safeguards on toxic dumping.

Clean Water Action released Toxic Trash Exposed on the second anniversary of the immense coal ash spill at the We Energies power plant in Oak Creek, WI, where 25,000 tons of coal ash spilled onto the lakeshore and into Lake Michigan. No one was hurt, but large boxcars tumbled like matchbox trucks in the melee. It could have killed anyone in its path.

View Lisa Evans's blog posts
30 October 2013, 5:26 PM
What if EPA’s coal ash rule doesn’t close unlined lagoons?
The pollutants from these black-bottomed coal ash lagoons are real—and deadly. (Image courtesy of Universal Pictures.)

The utility industry is speaking with one voice. According to comments filed last month with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group (USWAG) is crying out for a coal ash rule that would allow forever-dumping of toxic waste in unlined, leaking and potentially unstable coal ash impoundments.

Each year, the coal industry saves boatloads of cash by dumping millions of tons of toxic waste in more than 1,000 lagoons, and they’d like to keep it that way. Wet dumping is the cheapest way, in the short-term, to dispose of toxic ash, but it is also the most dangerous. Terminating this dumping would require plants to close, stabilize and monitor coal ash lagoons that contain millions of tons of toxic waste and which have already poisoned underlying aquifers. To the coal industry, this is a frightening financial prospect.

View Lisa Evans's blog posts
24 October 2013, 1:53 PM
Toxic ash disposal at Kingston still dangerous and poorly regulated
The Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill, in 2008. (TVA)

It’s been almost five years since the TVA Kingston coal ash disaster blanketed an idyllic riverfront community in toxic waste.

I revisited the site earlier this month, and the progress of the ongoing Superfund mega-cleanup is evident. One can once again see what brought generations to settle in this scenic valley, amid the broad rivers, quiet bays and gentle green mountains.

In Harriman, Tennessee, families enjoyed vibrant waterfront recreation off sandy beaches along the calm sloughs. Before 2008, every riverfront home had a dock, and the neighborhoods were tight, sharing a common love of the beauty and bounty of the water and mountains. In December 2008, all this was destroyed by the dam’s collapse.

House nearly buried by TVA Kingston Disaster, December 2008.

House nearly buried by TVA Kingston Disaster, December 2008.
1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Andrea Delgado's blog posts
26 September 2013, 9:46 AM
Hazelton coal ash and intolerance create poisonous stew
Proximity and exposure to coal ash poses many risks.

In northeast Pennsylvania, about an hour northwest of Allentown, lies Hazleton, a city with the dubious reputation of enacting ordinances that fueled ethnic tensions and anti-immigrant sentiment.

In 2008, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) pointed to Hazelton’s policies for fostering an environment conducive to hate after Luis Ramirez, a young father of two, was beaten to death in a town 17 miles away. The incident prompted the involvement of the U.S. Department of Justice and led to federal hate crime charges for the attackers along with indictments of extortion, misconduct and obstruction of justice for the police officers involved in the investigation.

Hazleton’s population is nearly 40-percent Latino; yet Rep. Lou Barletta, its congressman and former mayor, is notorious for championing anti-immigrant policies. Most recently, he is known for publicly dissuading the GOP from courting Latinos or providing a path to citizenship, alleging that the majority are undocumented, “low-skilled” and uneducated. Tell that to the more than 50 million Latinos in the U.S., 75 percent of whom are U.S. citizens.

Intolerance is toxic and fragmenting, undermining the integration and safety of immigrants looking to make America their home like generations before them. Community leaders and organizations such as the Hazleton Integration Project are working to foster tolerance and shed the city’s shameful past. But another toxic hazard looms over Hazleton, threatening the well-being of the burgeoning Latino population and the city as a whole.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
11 September 2013, 11:52 AM
Power plants dump pollution into our water, but that could soon change
Patricia Schuba of Missouri. (Matt Roth)

Earlier this summer, I was talking to a colleague and friend in Missouri, Patricia Schuba. She lives only a few miles from the Show Me State’s biggest coal-fired power plant, Ameren Corporation’s Labadie Power Station.

She was preparing to come to Washington to testify before the EPA on a proposal to clean up toxic water pollution from power plants. But before she got on the plane, she had a meeting to attend in St. Louis where Ameren was proposing to build another 1,100-acre coal ash pond directly in the floodplain of the Missouri River.

“It never ends here in Missouri,” she said. “If they try and build another coal ash dump, we’re going to fight back. That’s something they don’t seem to understand. We’re never going to give up.”

Nearly 50,000 of you aren’t giving up either.

4 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Debra Mayfield's blog posts
05 September 2013, 6:07 PM
Teen tornado takes on those who pollute her hometown
Members of the Black Belt Citizen's Fighting for Health and Justice. Durden is third from right. Photo by Avery Locklear, via Treehugger.

Just when you think our younger generation is distracted by Instagram, “Pretty Little Liars” and Miley Cyrus, the world turns itself upside down, shakes itself around and out comes Cece Durden.

Cece is a 17-year-old powerhouse who refuses to sit back and let her community in Alabama’s Black Belt risk be poisoned by toxic coal ash pollution. Until recently, Cece knew nothing of the coal ash being stored at the Arrowhead Landfill, threatening the health and welfare of her neighbors, herself and her classmates in the tiny hamlet of Uniontown. But her fighting spirit took over once she discovered that coal ash waste from the massive spill in 2008 at the Tennessee Valley Authority power plant in Kingston, TN—the second largest environmental disaster in U.S. history—was being dumped in her backyard.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Lisa Evans's blog posts
24 July 2013, 9:26 AM
McKinley's shameless coal ash bill is worse than ever
Residents of Asheville, NC have seen their waterways polluted by coal ash. (Watch video »)

This week the House will vote on the “Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act of 2013” (HR 2218) sponsored by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV). The bill ruthlessly guts longstanding public health and environmental protections of the nation’s decades-old statute protecting communities from solid and hazardous waste disposal. This shameless industry giveaway creates a giant loophole for the toxic waste generated by coal-fired power plants.

This is the fifth time since 2011 the House will vote on a McKinley abomination that allows the nation’s second largest industrial waste stream to escape federal safeguards. Enough toxic coal ash is produced each year to fill a freight train that would stretch from the North to the South Poles—waste that is filled with toxic chemicals like arsenic, chromium, lead and mercury.

This latest iteration is the most deadly. Among other atrocities, it allows leaking coal ash impoundments to operate indefinitely—even if they are gushing toxic chemicals into aquifers; it limits EPA authority to take over state programs—even if those programs are failing to protect human health; and it potentially blocks all future EPA rules concerning coal ash—including EPA’s recently proposed Clean Water Act rule addressing toxic wastewater from coal plants.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Allie Eisen's blog posts
24 June 2013, 2:20 PM
Bill could dramatically worsen already contaminated waters
The Progress Energy power plant, viewed across Lake Julian. (zen Sutherland)

There is a running joke in my hometown about the glowing green fish and three-headed salamanders in Lake Julian. Nestled in the center of Arden, North Carolina, and surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, this lake was once the picturesque centerpiece of the quaint Southern town. But thanks to the pollution from Progress Energy’s nearby coal ash pond, these jokes aren’t far from the truth.

Unfortunately, the North Carolina Legislature is debating a bill to make this type of coal ash contamination increasingly prevalent throughout local waterways. NC Senate Bill 612, sponsored by Republican leaders in both the House and Senate, seeks to “provide regulatory relief to the citizens of North Carolina” by creating a fast-track process to obtain environmental permits. The bill, which has already passed in the Senate and is currently moving through the House, would allow coal-fired power plants to contaminate groundwater up to and past their property lines—eliminating all current boundaries.

5 Comments   /   Read more >>