"Twenty-two electric utility facilities with coal ash impoundments have written action plans to make them safer. But on Thursday, as the U.S. EPA made these plans public, the agency also released engineering assessments of 40 more coal ash impoundments showing they have the 'high' or 'significant' potential to cause loss of human life, environmental damage, or damage to infrastructure.
Simultaneously, a national organization of government employees claims that the EPA has been running interference for the coal ash industry against states that seek to regulate ash storage in the absence of federal regulations.
Coal-fired power plants generate more than 130 million tons of fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, and flue gas desulfurization gypsum each year.
Coal ash came to national attention on December 22, 2008 when an impoundment holding disposed ash waste generated by the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston power plant in Tennessee broke, spilling 5.4 million cubic yards of ashy sludge over land and rivers. It is regarded as one of the worst environmental disasters of its kind in history. "