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Coal Ash Pollution
The Dirty Lie Continues - Be Heard!
Mercury is a heavy metal that accumulates in the fish we eat and can negatively impact brain function- and coal-fired power plants are the main source.
Over 500,000 people spoke up for the Utility mercury rule, a strong standard on hazardous air pollution that would reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by 91%.
The science is in and the American people have spoken, but some members of Congress are only listening to big polluters like the coal industry. It’s no secret why -- in 2010 alone, Big Coal spent $200 million lobbying Congress to ensure their profits were protected instead of the health of our lakes, wildlife and children.
Don’t let Big Coal drown out your voice! Tell your member of Congress to stand up against the delay of these vital protections by voting against H.R. 2401, the TRAIN Act.
The Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act would indefinitely delay the implementation of the Utility MACT rule, causing 17,000 premature deaths and 12,000 hospitalizations and emergency room visits-- every year. The public health benefits translate into economic benefit as well, saving taxpayers a minimum of $59 billion.
Studies show that a strong Utility mercury rule would create thousands of new jobs at a time America needs them most. The coal industry is opposed to these measures, because while stopping mercury pollution is good for our economy and public health, it’s not good for Big Coal's massive profits.
Ask your member of Congress to protect your community from mercury pollution - ask them to vote against H.R. 2401.
________________________________________________________Coal Pollution News from Waterkeeper Alliance:
We all know that coal is a filthy fossil fuel that can never be clean, but can you imagine 41,000 violations of the Clean Water Act? Unfortunately, now we all can.
Working with our partners at Appalachian Voices-Upper Watauga Riverkeeper, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Kentucky Riverkeeper, and NRDC, we've exposed three coal companies for exploiting the environment with more than 41,000 violations of the Clean Water Act in the Commonwealth of Kentucky alone. With government asleep at the wheel, Waterkeeper Alliance and our partners need to enforce the law to protect waterways and communities from reckless abandon by polluters.
Because of these abuses, on Tuesday we again provided notice to the Kentucky coal company Nally and Hamilton of our intention to sue them under the Clean Water Act for their ongoing dereliction of the law. Upon review of discharge monitoring reports submitted by this company to the state, we have identified similarities indicating that the company copied identical data in permit reports month after month rather than complying with the law by disclosing the actual results of the monitoring activities. This finding heaped an additional 5,000 new violations on an already colossal 12,000 violations previously uncovered against this company at multiple sites throughout Kentucky.
The extraction and burning of coal devastates our environmental and human health. Irresponsible mining practices are turning communities, mountains, and woodlands throughout the country into barren wastelands. While clear-cutting the old growth forests of Appalachia, this industry is blasting our mountainsides into oblivion and bulldozing the remnants into the surrounding valleys and streams. These practices have got to stop, and this lawsuit is just one example of how Waterkeeper Alliance fights against America's addiction to fossil fuels by exercising the law to protect our communities and waterways. Read the press release.
Coal ash, most simply, is what remains after coal is burned to generate electricity; like burning wood in a fireplace, there's a little something left over after coal is incinerated. But because there are many sources of coal, and because each coal plant has different technologies in place to manage the waste, it's difficult to say definitively what any given pile of coal ash contains. In general, though, it's understood that coal ash is a mix of a variety of hazardous heavy metals.
Coal ash might include metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead, chromium , barium, selenium and cadmium — all of which are recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as hazardous heavy metals individually. "The thing about coal ash," says Donna Lisenby, an activist with the Waterkeeper Alliance and Appalachian Voices, "is it's a toxic soup of all of them." 
Records show that North Carolina groundwater standards at Duke Energy's Buck Steam Plant on the Yadkin River have been exceeded 46 times due to elevated levels of boron, iron, manganese and pH. Plumes of contamination are moving offsite to the Yadkin River and into the adjacent drinking water supplies of nearby property owners. Other communities in North and South Carolina are also at increased risk of cancer, birth defects, and other illnesses due to coal ash contamination of their drinking water.
Coal combustion residuals, or CCRs, result from coal combustion in power plants and they contain heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, and mercury that taint drinking water and surface water.
CCRs are currently exempt from federal regulation under an amendment to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) but a proposed rule by the EPA would, for the first time, treat coal ash as hazardous waste requiring regulation of its handling and disposal by coal-fired power plants nationwide.
See the disastrous effects of coal ash resulting from a December, 2008 spill near the TVA's Kingston, TN, plant here. Read more about the coal ash contamination at www.TheDirtyLie.com.
A recent study conducted by the Environmental Integrity Project, EarthJustice, and the Sierra Club identified 39 additional coal ash dump sites in 21 states that are contaminating water in local communities. At every one of these sites equipped with groundwater monitoring wells, concentrations of heavy metal pollution exceed federal health-based standards for drinking water. Read the full report here.
________________________________Coal ash pollution and other scrubber waste from the First Energy plant in rural Pennysylvania is not only causing property damage but serious health issues—cancer included—among area residents as well. See details in this Voice of America article.
 Is coal ash poisoning Charlotte-area drinking water? By Rhiannon Bowman, Creative Loafing Charlotte, Published 09.07.10
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