Report: Contamination from coal ash waste is worse than EPA says
Two environmental groups report that at least 31 cases of coal ash waste contamination in 14 states are not listed by the EPA. Dangerous chemicals include arsenic, selenium, and boron.
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'There are hundreds of leaking sites'
“While the catastrophic spill at TVA’s Kingston plant has become the poster child for the damage that coal ash can wreak, there are hundreds of leaking sites throughout the United States where the damage is deadly, but far less conspicuous,” said Jeff Stant, who led the investigation for the Environmental Integrity Project, in a statement.Skip to next paragraph
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Mr. Stant and other report authors said in a teleconference that federal policy, which puts states in change of determining how to regulate coal ash, has “failed” and that it is time for the US government to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste.
The groups called also called on the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to “stop sitting” on its review of a coal-ash contamination rule and allow the EPA to begin addressing the problem.
But many business groups and members of Congress say federal regulation is a bad idea that would harm the economy and businesses that use coal ash. In a letter this month to Peter Orszag, director of the OMB, Rep. Jerry Costello (D) of Illinois and seven other lawmakers called on him to “consider the impact the regulation of CCBs [coal combustion byproducts] will have on jobs and the economy in Illinois.”
“A lot of people are claiming that if coal ash is not regulated as a hazardous waste at the federal level, then it’s not regulated,” Jim Roewer, executive director of the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group told the Monitor after the Kingston spill last year. “States do have programs, and they aren’t static and have become more stringent over time.”
The EPA has yet to respond to questions posed by the Monitor.