EPA Finally Releases List of Dangerous Coal Ash Sites

Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Kingston coal ash spill (photo: TVA)

Almost two weeks after Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) publicly questioned its need for secrecy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released on Monday a list of 44 coal-fired power plant waste sites in 10 states that pose a “high hazard” risk to nearby residents. EPA compiled the list following the environmental disaster last December near Knoxville, TN, when a coal ash storage pond released a billion gallons of waste. But federal environmental regulators refused at first to make public the list of other potential hazard sites, providing it only to members of Congress and their staff.

States with the most coal ash sites are North Carolina, with 12, and Kentucky, with seven. Duke Energy owns 10 of the sites, including those in Spencer, Eden, Terrell, Belmont, Walnut Cove and Mount Holly, NC. Progress Energy Carolinas has two ponds in Arden, NC, while Kentucky Utilities owns two ponds near Harrodsburg and three in Ghent, KY. Other states with sites are Arizona, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Montana.
EPA officials say they intend to inform energy companies of cleanup and repairs needed to be performed at the 44 locations. The agency insists the high-hazard rating does not mean the coal ash ponds are in danger of collapsing—just that a structural failure would probably kill people nearby.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
EPA List Shows Dangerous Coal Ash Sites Found in 10 States (by Renee Schoof, McClatchy Newspapers)
EPA Keeps Hazardous Sites Secret (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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