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Advocacy Campaign

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives

The people of La Belle, Pennsylvania, are fighting to clean up coal ash pollution in their neighborhood:

A small community was promised a recreational dream. Instead, they got a toxic nightmare of coal ash:

For decades, coal ash has polluted our waters and our communities. We will not let polluter profits triumph over public health. You can help win this fight.

Coal Ash Is a Hazardous Waste.

Coal ash, the toxic remains of coal burning in power plants, is full of chemicals that cause cancer, developmental disorders and reproductive problems. It poisons our water and kills fish and wildlife.

But despite the threat, both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the White House have done little to protect the waters we drink from coal ash contamination.

Tell the EPA that its job is to protect our communities, not wealthy polluters.

Trump’s EPA Could Now Nix Safeguards For Coal Ash Dumps.

After our long court battle to get the first-ever federal safeguards on coal ash dumps, these hard-won protections are now endangered. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is now considering a petition filed by polluters that would pull back the protections outlined in a settlement we won on behalf of ten public interest groups and the Moapa Band of Paiutes. Critical groundwater monitoring and cleanup requirements are scheduled to go into effect October 17, 2017.

In its petition, the Utilities Solid Waste Activities Group asks the EPA to lift the safeguards and indefinitely delay critical compliance deadlines. These deadlines include the utilities’ duty to sample drinking water to detect contamination, implement cleanup measures for poisoned drinking water, and close leaking dumps that are releasing hazardous chemicals.

On September 14, 2017, the EPA decided that it will “reconsider” the safeguards on coal ash dumps. In a letter to an industry trade group and to owners of coal-fired power plants, the EPA indicated that it would grant the legal petitions filed by the industrial polluters.

Among the protections of the coal ash rule that the EPA now claims it is “appropriate” to revisit are: groundwater protection standards, cleanup standards, closure standards, regulation of waste piles, and deadlines to comply with those standards, as well as whether to subject “inactive” ash ponds—those that still have ash and water in them but don’t continue to get coal ash added—to regulation at all. The industry petitions asked for broad weakening of health and environmental standards, which the EPA will now entertain. More details.

Together, We Will Achieve Strong, Enforceable Protections for Our Water and Our Future.

We fight in the courts for a long-term solution to this toxic menace: the first-ever federal rules protecting our water and our health from exposure to toxic coal ash pollution. And we act on behalf of dozens of clients and coalition partners to defeat legislative attempts to subvert federally enforceable safeguards of coal ash

We need strong safeguards that protect our health and our environment. Polluters don’t want to clean up their toxic mess and are pressuring the EPA and Congress to ignore this growing problem. But together, we can illuminate the coal ash problem and push decision-makers to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink. Join us by taking action today.


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.

The Coal Ash Problem

Coal ash is filled with toxic levels of multiple pollutants—which can poison drinking water sources. See the infographic, and learn how you can help to solve the coal ash problem.

A Toxic Inheritance

The nation’s worst coal ash spill was scooped up from a prosperous community and dumped across state lines into the lives of a low-income community. But Alabama's Perry County is fighting back.