Across the country, communities near retiring coal plants are breathing collective sighs of relief. Closures, however, raise vexing questions about the millions of tons of toxic waste that may lie beneath the surface. Over decades, most plants have buried battleship-sized deposits of coal ash in landfills and lagoons near their plants. In the absence of federal mandates, utilities may leave behind a leaking legacy of deadly pollution, even after the belching stacks are long gone.
The Latest On: Coal Ash
February 26, 2012 marked the 40th anniversary of the Buffalo Creek disaster—the “most destructive flood in West Virginia history,” which took 125 lives in Logan County, West Virginia, injured 1100, and left 4000 homeless.
On Tuesday, Virginia attorney Ted G. Yoakam, representing nearly 400 people living near the Battlefield Golf Club in Chesapeake, refiled a lawsuit against Dominion Virginian Power, MJM Golf LLC (the owner of the golf course) and two additional parties involved in building the course, requesting more than $2 billion in damages.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, announced a program, Climate and Clean Air Coalition, today to reduce methane, soot and other pollutants. The United States is jumpstarting the program by contributing $12 million over the next two years.
"By focusing on these pollutants, how to reduce them and, where possible, to use them for energy, people will see results," Clinton said at a news conference today in Washington D.C.
The American Coal Ash Association is trying with might to mislead us.
Last month we marked three years since the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston coal ash spill, underscoring the fact that the EPA has yet to regulate toxic coal ash waste.
Now we have even more reason to be concerned.
President Obama won the White House on a platform of hope and change – promising an end to dirty corporate influence over our political system and a beginning to an era in which our energy choices lead us to a clean, sustainable future, or at least don’t kill us or make us sick.
So far, the president’s performance has been mixed – with some deliveries on the promise and some disappointments. His last year, whether in office or in his first term, will be crucial in righting his spotty record and making good on his campaign promises to the American people.