EPA Releases All Responses to Coal Ash Survey

September 9, 2009

EPA has released ALL the responses to its coal-ash survey, giving reporters the raw material for hundreds of local stories. Full data.

In doing so, the Obama EPA took a path of openness that diverged from that of the prior administration and agencies like the Corps of Engineers and Department of Homeland Security, which had sought to conceal the information from the public.

After the failure of a Tennessee coal-ash pond in Dec. 2008 inundated homes and poisoned streams, EPA asked hundreds of utilities to report on what hazards might be posed by their own coal-ash storage and disposal methods. It got responses on some 584 facilities at some 219 power plants in 35 states.

The AP's Dina Cappiello had the story Sept. 8, 2009. The Louisville Courier-Journal's Jim Bruggers had published the data in summary form Aug. 31.

EPA has legal authority to compel utilities to furnish the data. EPA's openness in making the data public was not matched in all cases by the utilities, some of whom called the survey burdensome and withheld information they claimed constituted trade secrets.