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

August 24, 2023 From the Experts

EPA announces that cleaning up coal ash will be a top priority for enforcement

EPA acknowledges widespread noncompliance from coal-fired power plant owners.

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.
August 14, 2023 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.

June 20, 2023 In the News: Grist

Closing the coal ash loophole

Lisa Evans, Senior Counsel, Clean Energy Program, Earthjustice: “Unless you have a specific rule requiring investigation and cleanup, industry is just not going to do it.”