Coal Ash Chronicles

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Details on pollution concerns at Frost Middle School

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CleanEnergy Footprints » Archive » Ash Time Goes By, Part 1

Three years after the EPA proposed a rule to protect communities from coal ash—a byproduct of coal-power generation that’s filled with toxic chemicals like arsenic, lead, and mercury—a final rule is still nowhere in sight. Meanwhile, power plants are dumping an additional 94 million tons of it every year into wet-ash ponds and dry landfills that are already filled to capacity.

These Kentucky impoundments, one of them 227 feet high, contain some of the highest levels of lead, nickel, and thallium in the nation. They are above the Ohio River, which provides drinking water to more than 3 million people. Two towns are nearby, with schools and churches along the riverside.

Seemingly untouched by this sense of looming disaster, the Obama Administration continues to dawdle in the face of resistance from the coal industry and perennial attempts from House Republicans to deprive the EPA of its authority over the issue. As the EPA fiddles with new power-plant data and reassesses the rule ad nauseam, the next coal ash catastrophe is waiting to happen. As we examine the wreckage, we’ll have to remember how this rule gathered dust on the Administration’s desk.

- See more at: http://blog.cleanenergy.org/2013/08/14/ash-time-goes-by-part-1/#sthash.GoO5Vl5p.dpuf

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Big Sandy also maintains a sprawling coal ash pit near the plant, created to store waste ash after the coal is burned, that the E.P.A. recently listed as one of 45 “high hazard” pits nationwide. That means it “will probably cause loss of human life,” the E.P.A. says, if a serious accident occurs. In Tennessee in 2008, a billion gallons of slurry from a coal ash pit washed out area homes and streams, though no deaths resulted.
Snippet from “Even in Coal Country, the Fight for an Industry,” by Eric Lipton for The New York Times, May 2012.

(Source: )

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Last week was a big, mixed week for coal ash

Coal ash made a lot of headlines this week, and here they are (with brief summaries):

"Coal Ash Recycling Rate Is Lagging, Says Industry Group"POWER magazine

Regulatory uncertainty concerning the disposal of coal ash has stalled coal ash recycling in the U.S. and kept levels below those reported in 2008 for a third consecutive year, suggests a new report from the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA).

The American Coal Ash Association wasn’t in the news for this, but it’s worth noting: It’s Twitter account for the 2013 World of Coal Ash Conference is active @WOCA2013. The conference will be held in Lexington, KY, April 22-25, 2013. The registration fees are $750.00* per person (before March 22, 2013).

The Associated Press and The Huffington Post ran an article alleging that “Coal Slurry Pond Dangers May Increase As Companies Ignore Construction Standards” in the midst of a recovery effort in West Virginia. Last week, a worker for Consol Energy was helping to expand a coal slurry pond when both he and his bulldozer fell into the lagoon. The worker has been missing for more than a week. Read the article here.

Forbes magazine and the American Coal Council posted on its “Coal Blog” that it expects the Obama administration, via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to further weaken its stance on coal ash regulations. Read the article here (dated Nov. 19, 2012), and the ACC’s blog post here (dated Dec. 4, 2012).

In contrary news, the S.S. Badger — a coal-powered car ferry on Lake Michigan, was a loser in Congress this week, according to The Chicago Tribune: “Badger ferry loses this round: Congress dumps special legislation for coal-fired ship.”

In different-state-difference-stance news: North Carolina’s Environmental Management Committee rejected a group of environmentalists’ push to force the state’s coal industry — which in N.C. boils down to Duke Energy — to clean up coal ash ponds that have contaminated groundwater. (There are 14.) From The (Raleigh) News & Observer: “N.C. board rejects coal-ash pit cleanup.”

And, in Michigan, environmentalists spoke out against House Bill 5953. (Read a draft of the bill here.) Watch:

*Help Rhiannon attend the 2013 World of Coal Ash conference by donating to Coal Ash Chronicles here.

Filed under coal ash coalash coal energy beneficial reuse EPA American Coal Ash Association ACAA World of Coal Ash conference WOCA Kentucky KY North Carolina NC miner missing slurry pond water contamination groundwater drinking water construction standards blog regulations SS Badger ferry Congress

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Huge, mixed week for coal ash

Coal ash made a lot of headlines this week, and here they are (with brief summaries):

"Coal Ash Recycling Rate Is Lagging, Says Industry Group"POWER magazine

Regulatory uncertainty concerning the disposal of coal ash has stalled coal ash recycling in the U.S. and kept levels below those reported in 2008 for a third consecutive year, suggests a new report from the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA).

The American Coal Ash Association wasn’t in the news for this, but it’s worth noting: It’s Twitter account for the 2013 World of Coal Ash Conference is active @WOCA2013. The conference will be held in Lexington, KY, April 22-25, 2013. The registration fees are $750.00* per person (before March 22, 2013).

The Associated Press and The Huffington Post ran an article alleging that “Coal Slurry Pond Dangers May Increase As Companies Ignore Construction Standards” in the midst of a recovery effort in West Virginia. Last week, a worker for Consol Energy was helping to expand a coal slurry pond when both he and his bulldozer fell into the lagoon. The worker has been missing for more than a week. Read the article here.

Forbes magazine and the American Coal Council posted on its “Coal Blog” that it expects the Obama administration, via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to further weaken its stance on coal ash regulations. Read the article here (dated Nov. 19, 2012), and the ACC’s blog post here (dated Dec. 4, 2012).

In contrary news, the S.S. Badger — a coal-powered car ferry on Lake Michigan, was a loser in Congress this week, according to The Chicago Tribune: “Badger ferry loses this round: Congress dumps special legislation for coal-fired ship.”

In different-state-difference-stance news: North Carolina’s Environmental Management Committee rejected a group of environmentalists’ push to force the state’s coal industry — which in N.C. boils down to Duke Energy — to clean up coal ash ponds that have contaminated groundwater. (There are 14.) From The (Raleigh) News & Observer: “N.C. board rejects coal-ash pit cleanup.”

And, in Michigan, environmentalists spoke out against House Bill 5953. (Read a draft of the bill here.) Watch:

*Help Rhiannon attend the 2013 World of Coal Ash conference by donating to Coal Ash Chronicles here.

Filed under coal ash coalash coal energy beneficial reuse EPA American Coal Ash Association ACAA World of Coal Ash conference WOCA Kentucky KY North Carolina NC miner missing slurry pond water contamination groundwater drinking water construction standards blog regulations SS Badger ferry Congress

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has had tell the LG&E to stop construction activities where it wants to put a coal combustion waste landfill near its Trimble County power plant.

A couple of months ago, some neighbors heard and saw some construction activity and notified authorities with the Corps, which is reviewing the proposal to make sure it complies with the Clean Water Act and other federal laws.

Lee Anne Devine, a Louisville-based regulatory chief for the federal agency, told me today that the site was inspected then, and the corps found some work being done on transmission lines in the area.

“They don’t have a permit,” Devine told me. “Their whole project is within our scope. They weren’t impacting any U.S. waters, but they need to comply with all federal laws before they are working on that project.”

James Bruggers, Watch Dog Earth blog for Louisville, KY’s Courier-Journal

(Source: blogs.courier-journal.com)

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Black dust from the giant coal ash heap across the street from Kathy Little’s Louisville home swirls in the wind, coating her windows, her car, and blows indoors to settle on the furniture.

"It’s a constant struggle and it’s a sad situation because there’s not a lot of people that know that goliath is over there," Little said of the ash dump near her home — at Louisville Gas & Electric’s Cane Run Station.

Residents, activists prod EPA for coal ash rules — Dylan Lovan, Associated Press

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