COLUMBUS — “Investigators from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on Monday were looking into complaints against an east side refinery that is in danger of being closed.
The Ohio EPA said it received several complaints, beginning on Monday afternoon, from people near the Heartland Petroleum plant on East 5th Avenue, 10TV’s Danielle Elias reported.
An EPA spokeswoman said the agency received complaints of a “burnt oil smell.”
The complaints come 11 days after the company faced an environmental court judge, who warned that Heartland could be shut down.
Franklin County Environmental Court Judge Harland Hale on Aug. 19 ruled that Heartland Petroleum could remain open, but warned the company that if it had another release of chemical fumes it could be closed.”
Activists urge waste be classified as hazard, but industries oppose plan
ARLINGTON, VA — “Environmental activists urged the federal government Monday to regulate toxic ash from coal-fired power plants as hazardous waste, arguing that federal standards are necessary because the states have done a poor job of regulating coal-ash disposal.
‘The threat that coal ash poses to human health is serious, and it is widespread,’ said Barbara Gottlieb of Physicians for Social Responsibility, a nonprofit advocacy group that works to protect the public from environmental toxins.
But road builders and other industries that use recycled coal ash in concrete, cement and other construction materials argued that labeling coal ash as a hazardous substance would devastate the recycling business.”
CLEVELAND — “FirstEnergy Corp. wants U.S. approval to operate its Davis-Besse nuclear power plant near Toledo until 2037, when it would be 60 years old.
The Akron company on Monday said it had submitted an application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a 20-year license extension. Re-licensing typically takes months and includes public hearings.
Davis-Besse’ operating license expires in 2017. The reactor began operating in 1977.
The extension request comes just 10 days before an NRC special inspection team is to present its preliminary findings in a public meeting about what caused the latest cracking in parts of Davis-Besse’s reactor lid.”
COLERAIN TOWNSHIP — Neighbors of the Rumpke Sanitary Landfill marked the one-year anniversary of the day Rumpke reported an underground fire in the northwest corner of the site to local and state regulators. At an April 1 public meeting attended by 175 people, staff from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported on the situation and took questions. Since then, communication with residents has been sporadic and research into the fire’s cause, inconclusive. “It’s been a year and we still don’t know what caused this, how to stop it or how long it might go on,” said landfill neighbor and Property Owners Want Equal Rights spokesperson Nancy Lindemood. “We are very disappointed in this lack of answers, solutions or progress,” she said.
The fire at Rumpke is one of four underground landfill fires in the state of Ohio, including one in Stark County which has been burning since 2006. Besides being extraordinarily difficult to extinguish, underground fires can lead to increased air pollution and risk of explosion and landslides. They can also melt the plastic leachate collection equipment and plastic liners designed to protect groundwater. Underground fires are often sparked by reactions between different types of decomposing waste. Despite review of Rumpke’s records of waste buried in the vicinity, U.S. EPA scientists have not yet reproduced in the laboratory the conditions which could have led to the fire.
Property Owners Want Equal Rights and Ohio Citizen Action launched a good neighbor campaign with Rumpke in April 2010. The campaign aims to stop the landfill in Colerain Township from nearly doubling in size, promote waste reduction and recycling programs to reduce the region’s dependence on landfills and support the rights of communities, not companies to determine waste management strategies.
CINCINNATI — “Arriving this week at some Cincinnati households: 96-gal. recycling carts, the first step in the city’s plan to increase recycling and reward people for doing it…
It’s a huge undertaking for the city and Rumpke, from managing the staggered implementation to estimating how many additional collection trucks to buy to keep up with more recyclables. The new collection trucks have automatic lifts that pick up the carts.
But city environmental specialists believe the carts’ bigger capacity and the new RecycleBank rewards program will attract many more recyclers and encourage current ones to recycle more. If so, the city stands to earn more in bonuses for increased recycling tonnage and save big in landfill dumping fees.”
HAZLETON, PA — “Barb Reed carts drinking water into her house, dissolves chlorine tablets in her toilet tank and replaces the element of her hot water heater every few years because of contamination in her well water.
The water from her son’s well is even worse, containing arsenic – a poison that causes cancer – in levels that exceed safe drinking standards. He moved in with his mother but still has to pay the mortgage on his own home.
The Reeds live near the Bruce Mansfield Power Station of FirstEnergy in Greene Township, Beaver County, one of 39 places around the country where a new report found metals and other toxic chemicals are escaping from storage areas for fly ash and other waste from coal-burning plants.
Environmental groups released the report Thursday as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prepares to hold seven hearings across the nation on proposals to regulate coal ash.
The hearings start today in Arlington, Va., and the public can comment on the proposal through Nov. 19.”
CHICAGO — “The Natural Resources Defense Council, which brought multiple legal battles to American Municipal Power to stop its coal-fired power plant, has no plans to fight AMP’s proposed natural gas combined cycle plant for Meigs County, according to spokesperson Josh Mogerman.
Mogerman, speaking Friday from the NRDC’s Midwest office in Chicago, Ill., said though it’s hard to fully evaluate the project until more details are known, ‘at its most basic level, a natural gas plant is a vast improvement from an environmental perspective and likely an economic perspective over the previous plan.’
An major issue the NRDC had with the previous, coal-fired incarnation of the plant were the carbon emissions. Mogerman said though a NGCC plant does leave a carbon footprint, it is ‘significantly reduced, particularly from what AMP wanted to build.’
However, Mogerman reiterated the organization, like everyone else, hasn’t seen any details on the new plant which makes it hard to fully evaluate the project.”
POMEROY — “American Municipal Power’s announcement last week it plans to build a new electricity generating plant in Meigs County after all will pay off for the county most in the work its construction creates, Commissioner Tom Anderson said Friday.
AMP plans to move forward with development of an 600-MW natural gas combined cycle generating facility in Letart Falls. AMP made the announcement following action taken at a meeting of the American Municipal Power Generating Station participants on Aug. 19.
Anderson commended the company’s plans to reconsider construction of a power plant here, and said the work of Economic Development Director Perry Varnadoe and Commissioner Mick Davenport, in particular, played an important role in securing the project for the county.”
CLEVELAND — “An environmental study has identified four Ohio sites where they say coal ash dumps are contaminating groundwater with heavy metals. Ideastream’s Bill Rice reports some accuse the Ohio EPA of being negligent in failing to warn citizens of the dangers.
The study by the environmental integrity project identifies a total of 39 coal ash dump sites in 21 states where water testing shows amounts of heavy metals in excess of federal standards. That’s in addition to 31 sites identified in a previous study by the group, and 67 cited by the U.S. EPA.
The four sites in Ohio are the first in the state to be publicly identified.
Rachel Belz of Ohio Citizen Action, which is working to bring the studies to the public’s attention, says the toxic substance figures come from the Ohio EPA. Private wells close to a dump site near Canton are shown to contain heavy metals at 30 times safe federal levels.
Belz says Ohio laws are lax when it comes to reporting pollution from coal ash, a waste product of coal burning power facilities.”
As coal ash hearings begin across the country, impacted citizens criticize companies and lack of government regulation
COLUMBUS – As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers how to regulate toxic waste from coal plants, Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and Sierra Club issued a report today on the nationwide scope of the problem. The report, In Harm’s Way, reveals 39 new sites in 21 states where toxic coal waste has threatened water supplies, including 4 sites in Ohio. It documents the steadily growing number of waters known to be poisoned by poor management of the toxic ash left over when coal is burned for electricity.
“My community is getting poisoned. We’ve got multiple coal ash sites, including the Gavin power plant, plus so-called beneficial uses like when they dump the waste on our roads in the winter,” said Elisa Young from Meigs Citizens Action Now. “This is a justice issue. We need the EPA to regulate coal ash disposal and reuse, and hold the coal industry responsible for cleaning up its mess.”
Ohio is home to some of the most polluted sites in the report. At AEP’s Cardinal plant in Brilliant in eastern Ohio, levels of arsenic and molybdenum were recorded at over 10 times safe federal levels; at AEP’s Gavin plant in Cheshire in southern Ohio, alpha particles, arsenic, barium, and molybdenum were recorded at over 5 times safe federal levels. All four sites are less than two miles from private water wells, and the Cardinal plant is less than five miles from five different public wells.
The pollution in coal ash is known to cause cancer, organ disease, respiratory illness, neurological damage, and developmental problems. The data shows that this toxic pollution is flowing into nearby communities, polluting private drinking water wells and even putting some public water supply wells at risk. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has no requirements on groundwater monitoring of coal ash sites. Nationwide, not one state has required the toxic pollution to be stopped, let alone cleaned up.
Researchers found the sites by reviewing existing files at state agencies, and are only the tip of the iceberg amongst poor or non-existent monitoring and regulations. Sandy Bihn, from the Western Lake Erie Waterkeepers, has concerns about FirstEnergy’s Bayshore plant near Toledo, which is responsible for killing 2 billion fish and fish larvae each year. Bihn said “FirstEnergy’s new plan to divert the fish requires a bypass be cut through their old coal ash disposal site, which simply can’t be done safely because we don’t know what’s in there. They need to install cooling towers, which are proven to work in these situations.”
The report comes just days before the EPA begins a series of hearings across the country to gather public comment on new protections from toxic coal ash. Details on the hearings, which will be held in Virginia, Colorado, Texas, North Carolina, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Kentucky, can be found at www.sierraclub.org/coalash.
CINCINNATI — Today Ohio Citizen Action released an 8-minute video entitled “Coal Ash in Ohio” to highlight the problems and risks of toxic coal ash waste in Ohio. Coal ash is not currently regulated and Ohio is one of 29 states that does not require coal ash landfills and wet ponds to be monitored. Coal ash is disposed of in landfills and wet ponds, and some of the coal ash waste is used in consumer products ranging from bowling balls and building products to cosmetics and toothpaste.
The USEPA has announced two competing proposed regulations to begin regulating coal ash. The federal comment period for the proposed regulations runs through November 19, 2010 and citizens are urged to learn more about toxic coal ash, attend one of the seven public hearings that run August 30-September 28 and make citizen comments about coal ash to the USEPA.
— Rachael Belz, Coal Program Organizer, Ohio Citizen Action
City Electric Department Superintendent Dennis Bowles (right) introduces Marc Gerken, P.E. president and CEO of American Muncipal Power Inc., to Martinsville City Council at Tuesday’s meeting. (Mike Wray/Martinsville Bulletin)
MARTINSVILLE, VA — “Martinsville will save millions of dollars on its future wholesale power costs even if it chooses to pay back its share of expenses toward a ceased power plant project without participating in future projects.
That is what City Manager Clarence Monday determined when Martinsville City Council on Tuesday heard a presentation by American Municipal Power (AMP) executives about the city’s involvement with the organization and three power projects.
According to AMP projections, by participating in one of the three, the Prairie State Energy Campus in Illinois, Martinsville will save $5.4 million on wholesale electricity costs during the first 14 years of the plant’s operation.”
MAPLE HEIGHTS — Over the last three weeks, 100 Kokosing Asphalt neighbors in Garfield Heights and Maple Heights have put signs in their yards protesting pollution from the company’s Maple Heights asphalt plant. The signs read, “Kokosing Asphalt: Clean it Up!” While the company has made some improvements to reduce noise and pollution from the plant, neighbors are still dealing with noxious odors.
The company reports polluting sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, organic compounds and soot. Sulfur dioxide makes
it harder to breathe and can aggravate asthma. Soot can cause heart and lung damage and can also aggravate asthma.
Construction crews work on the nearly quarter complete, $360 million SunCoke plant on Yankee Road in Middletown, Ohio Tuesday, Aug 24. Six-hundred workers will lay more than 3.6 million bricks in the coming weeks. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland will visit the site Wednesday. (Gary Stelzer/MBR)
MIDDLETOWN — “Construction on a $360 million industrial coke-making facility here by SunCoke Energy Inc. is about 20 percent complete, but opponents aren’t giving up their two-year opposition to the controversial project…
Monroe resident Lisa Frye, president of SunCoke Watch Inc., a community group opposed to the project, said she’s not opposed to economic development, ‘but at what cost?’
Opponents argue the plant’s 100 coke ovens, which will burn up to 800,000 tons of coal annually, will cause further deterioration in the area’s air quality already deemed a non-attainment area by the Environmental Protection Agency.
‘If I didn’t think we had a case from a legal standpoint, I wouldn’t waste my time fighting this,’ said Frye.”
Letters to Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman
6,615 members have sent handwritten letters and petitions to Senator Brown urging him to support US EPA rules that will protect our health from polluting coal plants as of January 24, 2012.
3,751 members have petitioned Senator Portman urging him to support US EPA rules that will protect our health from polluting coal plants as of January 24, 2012.
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