Coal Ash

Polluters ask Trump administration to cut safeguards for nation’s No. 2 toxic pollution threat

A cloud of toxic coal ash is seen blowing like a sandstorm straight at the homes on the Moapa River Reservation (credit: Moapa Band of Paiutes).

WASHINGTON, DC — “Dangerous piles of industrial waste laced with lead, arsenic, mercury and other toxics will continue to threaten communities all over America if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grants a legal petition that industrial polluters filed today.

The polluters’ Petition for Reconsideration seeks to do away with most of the EPA’s environmental safeguards for coal ash, which is the toxic waste left over from coal-burning power plants. For decades, coal ash was dumped into giant pits, where toxins can seep into water and soil and blow into the air. In October 2015, the first-ever EPA safeguards to protect communities near coal ash dumps went into effect.  The EPA’s protections address toxic dust and the stability of the dams that confine dumped coal ash. The agency also set standards to prevent, detect and clean up toxic leaks from the dumps.

…Today, over 1,400 coal ash waste dumps are spread across the nation, and in at least 200 cases, the toxic waste is known to have contaminated water sources. Coal ash waste is filled with some of some of the deadliest known toxins, including arsenic, lead, mercury and chromium. The toxics raise the risk for cancer, heart disease, and stroke, and can inflict lasting brain damage on children. About 70 percent of the toxic dumps are located in low-income areas.”


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