Hundreds of coal power plants burn almost a billion tons of coal every year, and the toxic byproduct that ends up in our air and water supply — coal ash — has been linked to cancer, heart disease, strokes, and brain damage.
The EPA has granted industry’s request to escape accountability and has proposed a new rule to roll back these critical safeguards in two major ways: by weakening protections for uncovered piles of toxic waste, and by allowing the unrestricted use of coal ash as structural “fill” — as a cheap and toxic alternative to soil.
An appalling example of a coal ash waste pile is in Guayama, Puerto Rico, where a 12-story, 500,000-ton ash pile sits open to the elements. The Guayama coal ash pile is one of the largest in the country, releasing toxic dust to the neighboring community and contaminating the underlying groundwater with toxic metals.
And in Town of Pines, Indiana, coal ash was used as “fill” for construction and poisoned the drinking water of the entire community, which is now a Superfund site. The EPA has evidence of dozens of sites across the U.S. where coal ash fill has contaminated water.
Don’t let the EPA ignore its own data to cater to industry. Demand that the agency protect our communities from coal ash pollution.