The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Online Tool Identifies Dangers of Toxic Coal Ash Impacting Your Community
On Dec. 11, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Appalachian Voices, Southern Environmental Law Center and North Carolina Conservation Network launched the first-ever comprehensive online tool that allows Southeast residents to find specific information about coal ash impoundments near them. The site includes information on the health threats associated with this toxic waste from coal-fired power plants, safety ratings of the coal ash impoundments and how citizens can advocate for strong federal safeguards.
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia are the nine states covered by the site, which is being launched almost four years to the week after a massive coal ash dam in Kingston, Tenn. catastrophically failed, releasing a billion-gallon flood of coal ash that poisoned some 300 acres, destroyed two dozen homes and filled the Emory River with toxic sludge. The coalition developed the website to call greater attention to the lurking dangers of coal ash in the South.
The Southeast is home to nearly 450 impoundments that hold 118 billion gallons of coal ash: enough to cover 300,000 football fields in 1 foot of toxic coal ash waste. These impoundments are veritable man-made lakes full of toxic compounds that threaten the waterways of the Southeast and the public with potential dam failures.
SoutheastCoalAsh.org offers concerned citizens throughout the region a new and easy way to learn if their community or drinking water source is in danger from these largely unregulated coal ash impoundments.
The website features an interactive map and database of 100 coal-fired power plants in the Southeast, color-coded by the amount of damage each would inflict if the coal ash dams were to break, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Of the Southeast plants with dams rated by the EPA, nearly one-third are “high hazard,” meaning that a dam failure like Kingston would likely cause fatalities. A brief glance at the map shows just how much more work needs to be done to assess these dangers—almost half of the plants in the Southeast have inadequate data for the EPA to properly assess the coal ash dams on site. Moreover, many of the plants lack adequate water monitoring data to show whether or not there are contamination problems at these sites. The web tool puts a spotlight on the hidden dangers of numerous impoundments storing coal ash waste in the Southeast and helps people understand how pollution from this waste poisons the water they use for drinking, swimming, fishing and recreation.
The new website features more than a dozen informational pages detailing the health and environmental hazards of coal ash as well as the current legislative and regulatory environment, active legal battles, links to additional articles, news and more. Every coal-fired power plant in the Southeast has a site-specific page, accessible from the interactive map. One click takes you deeper into the data about each plant to find out if there are any known contamination problems at the coal ash impoundment(s) on site, local action groups you can contact about that plant, as well as other local, state and regional/federal actions citizens can take.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Oil rigs around the world keep pulling crude oil out of the ground, but the global pandemic has sent shockwaves into the market. The supply is up, but demand has plummeted now that industry has ground to a halt, highways are empty, and airplanes are parked in hangars.
Under an agreement negotiated by community groups — represented by NRDC and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project — the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will remove thousands of lead water pipes by 2026 in order to address the chronically high lead levels in the city's drinking water and protect residents' health.
By Dave Cooke
So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.
By Richard Connor
A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.
Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control showed a larger number of young people coming down with COVID-19 than first expected, with patients under the age of 45 comprising more than a third of all cases, and one in five of those patients requiring hospitalization. That also tends to be the group most likely to use e-cigarettes.