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PSR petitions White House for safe coal ash disposal

February 23, 2012

PSR is petitioning the White House to have the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  release health-protective standards for disposal of coal ash.  Coal ash, the waste left after coal is burned in power plants, contains toxic metals including arsenic, mercury, lead, cadmium, and chromium. 

These and other toxic substances leak, leach, spill and blow from coal ash disposal sites into groundwater, surface water and soil in communities around the country.  Coal ash has contaminated streams, lakes and rivers, underwater aquifers and drinking-water wells in 34 states.  

PSR is gathering signatures on a letter demanding enforceable, nationwide standards for disposal of this huge toxic waste stream.  Please read and sign the letter now.

The EPA has been in the process of developing rules for coal ash disposal for more than two years.

Meanwhile, huge quantities of coal ash accumulate in states across the country.  In many places it is stored in vast “ponds” held back by earthen walls; in others, as mounds of dry ash, or even as mine fill in abandoned mine pits. 

A coal ash impoundment in Tennessee failed in December 2008, inundating an adjacent river valley with a billion gallons of coal ash and water.  The toxic sludge covered 300 acres, destroyed three homes and damaged others, and required a three-year, billion-dollar cleanup.

Coal ash constitutes the second-largest industrial waste stream in the U.S., following only mining wastes.

Action Alerts

  • It's time to put our health before polluter profits

    Climate change is endangering us now, harming public health and causing damage to our communities from extreme weather events. Tell your senators that rolling back methane pollution standards, a key step in our fight against climate change, is unacceptable!

  • Tell Congress: Protect our Health -- Oppose extreme anti-health bills

    Congress should ensure that federal agencies enforce laws that protect our water, air quality and public health--not curb the power of those agencies to carry out their mission. Tell your representative you oppose the REINS Act and the Midnight Rule Relief Act of 2017.

More action alerts»

Resources

  • Too Dirty, Too Dangerous

    There are compelling reasons to question the use of natural gas (methane), given the risks it poses to human health. This new report from PSR summarizes recent scientific findings that document methane’s implications for health. Read more »

  • Climate Change and Famine

    Climate change is already threatening the Earth’s ability to produce food. These effects are expected to worsen as climate change worsens. Read more »

  • Congressional Review Act Handout

    Congress is poised to use the CRA to dismantle Clean Air and Clean Water protections. CRA allows Congress by majority vote in both chambers (with limited debate and no opportunity for a filibuster) to void recently issued rules-resulting in communities losing dozens of health, safety and environmental protections. Read more »

In the Spotlight

  • November 30, 2016
    Eating for Climate and Health
    PSR's new PowerPoint presentation on how climate change impacts food production, and agriculture's contribution to climate change.