Lack of federal oversight of coal ash cleanup continues with recent House legislation by Alexandra Duszak for iwatch news House Republicans on Friday succeeded in championing legislation that would wrest regulation of coal ash from the federal Environmental [...]
The Environmental Protection Agency this week released the plans, saying they were an important step toward improving coal ash storage and avoiding a repeat of the 2008 Kingston, Tenn., disaster. "EPA is committed to making communities across the country safer places to live," said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPAs Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. "The information we are releasing today shows that we continue to make progress in our efforts to prevent future coal ash spills."
The inspector general’s report, released Wednesday, said sites where coal ash was used as wallboard “may represent a large universe of inappropriate disposal applications with unknown potential for adverse environmental and human health impacts.” EPA is considering imposing stricter regulations for coal ash, or fly ash, a byproduct of burning coal at power plants. The rule changes were prompted by a 2008 environmental disaster at a Tennessee power plant that released more than 5 million cubic yards of ash into a river and nearby lands.
A February 2009 investigation by the Center revealed the threats of coal ash on the environment and human health near ponds, landfills, and pits. In November, the Center spotlighted the toll coal ash has taken on citizens in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia who live in the shadows of one of the nation’s largest coal ash ponds — Little Blue Run, owned by First Energy. Coal ash, the residue in the production of electricity, typically is dumped in unlined or partially lined sites near the more than 500 coal-fired power plants nationwide.