Coal / Coal Ash / Duke Energy

Could toxic chemicals along the Ohio River be a danger to our drinking water?

The Beckjord plant, located about 20 miles east of Cincinnati, has been closed for two years. Emily Maxwell | WCPO

The Beckjord plant, located about 20 miles east of Cincinnati, has been closed for two years. Emily Maxwell | WCPO

NEW RICHMOND — “As early as next year, Duke Energy has said it will begin tearing down the more than 60-year-old [Beckjord Power] plant. The electric utility giant closed the plant in late 2014 just the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was writing new federal standards for how coal ash ponds should be managed.

Although federal rules went into place in 2015 that set new standards for how coal ash ponds should be managed and closed, the guidelines don’t apply to Beckjord because the plant closed in 2014. That means most of the rules for how the coal ash ponds are closed will fall under a limited set of Ohio laws governing coal ash ponds.

‘Ohio is one of the largest coal ash producers in the country, and they have some of the worst state regulations,’ said Lisa Evans, an attorney with Earthjustice, a nonprofit D.C.-based environmental law firm. ‘These ponds fall into a very dangerous regulatory gap.’

So far, Duke hasn’t said what its plans are for the ash ponds, which span nearly 170 acres of riverfront in New Richmond and Pierce Township. ”

— WCPO

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