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Fighting For Protections From Coal Ash

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

What’s at Stake

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

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.

Case Updates

January 25, 2022 | In the News: Corporate Knights

Could rare earth minerals give coal country a second life?

Lisa Evans, Senior Counsel, Coal Program, Earthjustice: “How do you extract [rare earth] in a way that doesn’t create more of an environmental hazard, that doesn’t endanger workers and that doesn’t leave toxic waste for the community? All these questions have to be answered.”

January 11, 2022 | In the News: The Hill

EPA takes steps toward addressing toxic coal residue

Lisa Evans, Senior Counsel, Coal Program, Earthjustice: “EPA, has not, to date, since the rule was promulgated in 2015, enforced the rule. It’s stunning that there have been no enforcement actions when in fact there is widespread, substantial noncompliance.”