"Hundreds of people packed a public hearing Wednesday in Dallas to sound off on a federal proposal to label the ash from coal-burning power plants a hazardous waste.
Texas, the nation's biggest coal-burning state, also leads in producing coal ash. Power companies either bury it in landfills or impoundment ponds, or sell it for use in concrete, bricks and other products.
Coal ash contains heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury and is typically classified as a 'special waste,' requiring careful handling but not posing the same health risk as hazardous waste. The Environmental Protection Agency in May proposed reclassifying it as hazardous, a move that would boost regulation."