Sunday, December 22, 2013
Environmental - Revisitng the massive 2008 coal ash spill and what has happened since
James Bruggers had a very lengthy story Dec. 20th in the Louisville Courier-Journal, headed "EPA fails to deliver coal ash rules 5 years after catastrophic spill: Cleanup and recovery efforts continue at site of largest coal ash spill in US history." A few quotes:
KINGSTON, Tenn. Witnesses still recall with horror the sights, sounds and smells of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s power plant disaster here five years ago, when a mountain of toxic coal ash broke loose in the middle of a frozen night to bury hundreds of acres and devastate a community.
“It was not a spill,” said Roane County resident Steve Scarborough. “It was a geologic event. People that lived right there looked out their windows and saw a forest moving by.” * * *
The catastrophic slide also sparked a national debate that’s still unresolved over how to manage one of the nation’s largest sources of industrial waste — which contains arsenic, lead, mercury and other metals that can contaminate groundwater, lakes and rivers, and cause cancer and other health and environmental problems.
After the Kingston disaster, a newly appointed EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, who has since left her post, promised the nation’s first federal regulations to ensure environmentally safe and structurally sound coal-burning waste storage.
But, so far, the EPA has failed to enact a single one — even as the agency has documented an increasing number of ash sites that have polluted the environment.
In 2000, the EPA had counted 50 sites where groundwater or surface water had been contaminated by coal ash. The most current number of these so-called “damage cases” is now more than 130.
Two are in Indiana, including Duke’s Gibson plant near Princeton, where ponds contaminated a wildlife sanctuary for endangered birds and the drinking water of a neighboring community.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 22, 2013 02:59 PM
Posted to Environment