"EPA Postpones Decision That Would Toughen Coal Ash Rules"
"The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed the nation's first federal rules for the disposal of contaminant-laden ash from coal-fired power plants, but delayed a decision for at least three months on whether coal ash should be regulated as a hazardous substance.
The ash contains the contaminated remains of coal, including mercury, arsenic, cadmium and other substances that can cause cancer and other illnesses. The EPA's testing has shown that without protections, these contaminants can find their way into drinking water supplies.
Only if the EPA declares coal ash is hazardous will it be able to enforce tougher rules nationwide. The other option would let EPA set standards, but the federal agency wouldn't have oversight or enforcement power. States or individuals would have to file lawsuits to try to get waste disposal site managers to comply. The EPA will decide after a 90-day comment period."Source: McClatchy, 05/05/2010