After a December 2008 spill of toxic coal ash at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston plant, EPA vowed to bring the ubiquitous waste under regulation. First, industry got to the Obama White House to sandbag the effort. Now, GOP lawmakers heavily funded by electric utilities have slipped a rider into the House stopgap spending bill to quash EPA's effort to protect the public altogether.
"Sewage-filled tanker trucks have dumped 153 million gallons of human waste and restaurant grease at a Pelion disposal site that lies in one of the most vulnerable areas for groundwater pollution in South Carolina."
"Two southwestern Pennsylvania fly ash disposal sites are among 28 such sites in 17 states that have contaminated groundwater by leaking toxic, cancer-causing hexavalent chromium, according to a new report by Earthjustice and two other environmental groups."
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday a new study by the largest toxic waste dump in the West showed its level of cancer-causing chemicals was too low to harm the health of a nearby community where an unusually high number of babies have been born with serious birth defects."
"State environmental officials approved new coal-ash landfill in southeast Baltimore Tuesday, saying "state-of-the-art" pollution controls there should allay nearby residents' fears that the power plant waste will blow into their neighborhoods and leak into the Patapsco River."
"The state of Minnesota is suing 3M Co. over its disposal of chemicals previously used to make Scotchgard and other products."
A US Geological Survey report offers a perspective on the global situation and an assessment of known US deposits. There may be about 13 million metric tons available in 14 states — with the sites generally posing the usual environmental challenges associated with mining and refining.
Heavy metal-laden coal ash currently can escape EPA regulation if it goes to some "beneficial use." But residents of LaBelle, Pa., are finding that what may be beneficial for utility and mining companies may be harmful to the townspeople's health and environment.
In California, recyclers are sending the discarded electronic devices they can not profitably reclaim toxic materials from to foreign countries -- where workers pick them apart by hand and are exposed to harmful substances.