Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins from coal ash readily leach into drinking water supplies.
Every year, power plants generate 140 million tons of coal ash, enough to fill a train stretching from the North Pole to the South Pole. Coal ash contains chemicals like arsenic, mercury and lead. It can cause cancer and developmental problems. It poisons fish and wildlife in rivers and lakes.
In some places, the ash is dumped into uncovered pits. In others, it sits behind leaky dams. It poisons the air. It destroys the water. And the corporate polluters responsible, they claim that cleaning up this toxic mess would hurt their profits. But we can't let polluter profits triumph over public health. We have to do something to clean up this mess.