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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.

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