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Fighting for Federal Regulation of Coal Ash

The devastating coal ash spill in Kingston, TN, in December of 2008.

The devastating coal ash spill in Kingston, TN, in December of 2008.

Photo by Tennessee Valley Authority

What's at Stake

Earthjustice is suing the federal government to adopt federal protections for coal ash, which contains toxic chemicals like arsenic, mercury and lead, is dumped into unlined and unmonitored pits and landfills every day, threatening drinking water supplies, aquatic life and public health.

Case Overview

A few years ago, the American public had never heard of coal ash. But on December 22, 2008, one billion gallons of the toxic sludge erupted from a holding pond in Tennessee and buried local homes, shorefront and miles of river —and coal ash burst onto the national stage.

Coal ash is the toxic waste that remains after coal is burned—it’s loaded with dangerous heavy metals that can cause cancer, reproductive harm and other diseases. Despite the national attention after the Tennessee disaster and the presence of more than a thousand other unsafe dump sites across the country, the EPA has scarcely lifted a finger to protect the American public from this danger.

On behalf of 10 public interest groups and the Moapa Band of Paiutes, Earthjustice sued the federal government to adopt coal ash protections.

Case Updates

February 27, 2015 | Feature

Coal Ash Contaminated Sites & Hazard Dams

Coal ash is the toxic waste formed from burning coal in power plants to make electricity. Hundreds of contaminated sites and spills have occurred among the 1,400+ coal ash waste dumps across the country.

October 28, 2014 | Blog Post

Will the EPA Coal Ash Rule Survive?

The White House has made it official: its review of the Environmental Protection Agency'scoal ash rule has begun.

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