Take Action Against Toxic Ash-Holes Today


In North Carolina ... a river poisoned with arsenic. In Nevada ... toxic clouds over a desert town. In West Virginia ... foul-smelling waste bubbling from the ground.

We once thought these problems were unrelated, but a disaster in Tennessee just days before Christmas in 2008 became a stark wake-up call on the problems of coal ash. Every year, power plants generate 140 million tons of coal ash—enough to fill a train stretching from the North Pole to the South Pole. Coal ash contains arsenic, mercury and lead, which can cause cancer and developmental problems. It is dumped into uncovered pits and lurks behind leaky dams. It poisons fish and wildlife in rivers and lakes, and blows dangerous particulates into the air.

Waterkeeper Alliance attorney Pete Harrison, Tennessee Riverkeeper David Whiteside, Black Warrior Riverkeeper Nelson Brooke, Coosa Riverkeeper Frank Chitwood, French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson, Watauga Riverkeeper Donna Lisenby and Tennessee Riverkeeper staff attorney Mark Martin return after collecting water samples from a coal ash pond at a coal-fired power plant in Alabama.

What's even more outrageous is the corporate polluters responsible for this coal ash claim that cleaning up this toxic mess would hurt their profits. But in 2008, when that dam in Tennessee broke, something changed. Nearly half a million people asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for stronger protections on coal ash. Thousands of citizens attended public meetings, and environmental and public health groups got involved. Waterkeeper Alliance and our partners brought the coal industry face to face with the people they were hurting. Everyone spoke with one united voice—Clean up Coal Ash.

Yet, four years later there are still no federal protections. Some senators even want to pass a bill to prevent the U.S. EPA from ever regulating coal ash. They want to ignore the disaster in Tennessee and avoid deadlines to clean up this toxic waste all across America.

We can't let polluter profits triumph over public health. We must defeat S.3512, a polluter-backed bill that would prevent the U.S. EPA from regulating this toxic waste. Call your senators today to express strong opposition against any measures that limit the U.S. EPA's ability to protect public health from coal ash.

Visit EcoWatch’s COAL page for more related news on this topic.


EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A wild Woodland Bison walks in the Arctic wilderness. RyersonClark / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Paul Brown

Releasing herds of large animals onto the tundra − rewilding the Arctic − to create vast grasslands could slow down global heating by storing carbon and preserving the permafrost, UK scientists say.

Read More
Insects play a vital role in ecosystems and humans are particularly dependent on them for food. Dmitry Grigoriev / Unsplash

By Ajit Niranjan

Seven 'no-regret' actions could rescue insects on the road to extinction, a new roadmap for conservation says, helping ecosystems even where a lack of research means scientists cannot prove benefits to individual species.

Read More
Visitors to the Hollywood & Highland mall in Hollywood wear face masks on Jan. 27 . Five people in the U.S. have tested positive for the deadly strain of Coronavirus, one each in Washington, Illinois and Arizona, and two in Southern California, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

As a new coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, concerns have emerged that Trump administration cuts to science and health agencies have hampered the U.S. ability to respond.

Read More
Workers evacuate the Lonja del Comercio (Commerce Market) in Havana, Cuba after an earthquake rattled the island Tuesday. ADALBERTO ROQUE / AFP via Getty Images

A 7.7 magnitude earthquake shook the Caribbean Tuesday, rattling people from Miami to Mexico.

Read More
A roller coaster on the Jersey Shore flooded after Hurricane Sandy. Photo credit: Hurricane_Sandy_New_Jersey_Pier.jpg: Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen / U.S. Air Force / New Jersey National Guard / CC BY 2.0

New Jersey will be the first state in the U.S. to require builders to take the climate crisis into consideration before seeking permission for a project.

Read More