Across the country, communities near retiring coal plants are breathing collective sighs of relief. Closures, however, raise vexing questions about the millions of tons of toxic waste that may lie beneath the surface. Over decades, most plants have buried battleship-sized deposits of coal ash in landfills and lagoons near their plants. In the absence of federal mandates, utilities may leave behind a leaking legacy of deadly pollution, even after the belching stacks are long gone.
The Latest On: Tr-Ash Talk
February 26, 2012 marked the 40th anniversary of the Buffalo Creek disaster—the “most destructive flood in West Virginia history,” which took 125 lives in Logan County, West Virginia, injured 1100, and left 4000 homeless.
On Tuesday, Virginia attorney Ted G. Yoakam, representing nearly 400 people living near the Battlefield Golf Club in Chesapeake, refiled a lawsuit against Dominion Virginian Power, MJM Golf LLC (the owner of the golf course) and two additional parties involved in building the course, requesting more than $2 billion in damages.
The American Coal Ash Association is trying with might to mislead us.
Last week we announced our intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency to force the release of long-awaited public health safeguards against toxic coal ash. Here is just another example of why states aren’t doing an adequate job keeping this toxic muck out of our drinking water.
Last month we marked three years since the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston coal ash spill, underscoring the fact that the EPA has yet to regulate toxic coal ash waste.
Now we have even more reason to be concerned.
So much has happened since that terrible day three years ago when more than 1 billion gallons of toxic coal ash sludge burst through a dam at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston Fossil Plant in Harriman, about 150 miles from Nashville.
Looks like that murky glass of water shouldn’t be your only concern. Several states weak on coal ash disposal also have another dubious claim: many are the worst offenders of air pollution.
In August, we released a report detailing the lack of state-based regulations for coal ash disposal and the 12 worst states when it comes to coal ash dumping.
It’s been a hard year for those of us who dream of our drinking water being free from coal ash contamination. We waited for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to release standards for regulating toxic coal ash and were dismayed to find out they would be delayed until the end of 2012 or even 2013.