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

February 20, 2024 In the News: Indianapolis Star

EPA: Cancer risk from coal ash higher than previously revealed. Could it be in your yard?

Lisa Evans, Senior Counsel, Clean Energy Program: “Nothing prevents power plants from moving radioactive waste from their own backyards into the backyards and neighborhoods where American families live.”

February 8, 2024 In the News: Inside Climate News

EPA Reports “Widespread Noncompliance” With the Nation’s First Regulations on Toxic Coal Ash

Lisa Evans, Senior Counsel, Clean Energy Program: “We see this as the first shot across the bow informing the utilities and states and stakeholders that EPA indeed does find significant noncompliance with the coal ash rule.”

January 24, 2024 In the News: Inside Climate News

Environmentalists Rattled by Radioactive Risks of Toxic Coal Ash

Lisa Evans, Senior Counsel, Clean Energy Program: “The EPA has not come close to doing a risk assessment of the placement of coal ash in residential areas. They project that these utility sites may be redeveloped in the future and that this ash will pose a problem to human health at that point, which is true. But it begs the question of what about the ash that’s actually in people’s yards right now?”