Fighting For Protections From Coal Ash

For decades, coal ash has polluted our waters and our communities. We will not let polluter profits triumph over public health.

Case Overview

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.

After our long court battle to get the first-ever federal safeguards on coal ash dumps, these hard-won protections are now endangered. The Trump administration is now moving to pull back the protections outlined in a settlement Earthjustice won on behalf of ten public interest groups and the Moapa Band of Paiutes.

We fight in the courts for a long-term solution to this toxic menace: strong, enforceable 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.

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)

Case Updates

May 23, 2024 In the News: IndyStar

Error in Pines coal ash cleanup plan put residents’ health at risk

Lisa Evans, Senior Counsel, Clean Energy Program: “They have a motivation to not find as much contamination.”

April 26, 2024 In the News: NC Newsline

New EPA rules will force fossil fuel power plants to cut pollution

Lisa Evans, Senior Counsel, Clean Energy Program: “We’re going to see a long-awaited crackdown on coal ash pollution from America’s coal plants, and it’ll be a huge win for America’s health and water resources. They are all likely leaking toxic chemicals like arsenic into groundwater and most contain levels of radioactivity that can be dangerous to human health.”

A line of people hold a long banner with the large words, "Make Power Plants Clean Up All Their Coal Ash" in front of a skyscraper in Chicago. Many more people are holding signs behind the banner with the words " Protect Lake Michigan" and EPA: Make Power Plants Clean Up All Their Coal Ash." A woman holding up the center of the banner stands with a raised fist.
April 25, 2024 feature

‘Do Your Job, EPA’: Stories From the Frontlines of Coal Ash

By law, before government regulations are adopted or changed, agencies must ask the public — you — to weigh in.