FOIA requests and Congressional pressure got the Obama administration to reverse its decision to withhold key information about dangers to communities from coal-ash ponds operated by electric utilities.
"The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday made public a list of 26 communities in 10 states where residents are potentially threatened by coal ash storage ponds similar to one that flooded a neighborhood in Tennessee last year."
"The earthen dikes supporting a huge coal ash landfill at a Tennessee power plant were 'on the verge of failure' long before they collapsed and sent tons of toxic muck into a river and lakeside community, an engineering consultant said Thursday."
"A coalition of environmental groups today formally asked three federal agencies to make public the list of 44 coal ash disposal sites across the country that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classed as 'high hazard.'"
Advanced geothermal technology -- deep drilling to fracture rock far underground -- threatens to cause earthquakes when deployed along faults. The Energy Department is funding private firms to try such projects in the U.S.
"The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday declared its first-ever 'public health emergency,' saying the federal government will funnel $6 million to provide medical care for people sickened by asbestos from a mine in northwest Montana."
US EPA and Army Corps of Engineers say they "cannot make the list of 'high hazard' coal ash impoundment sites public," even though risk to communities exists -- like the December 2008 pond failure at the Kingston Fossil Plant in Tennessee.
"Dozens of communities nationwide are at risk from a coal ash spill like the one that blanketed a Tennessee neighborhood last year, but the Obama administration has decided not to tell the public about it because of the danger of a terrorist attack."
By KATINA GAUDET
"We have a different fear of hurricanes."
My friend Yasmin was trying to rationalize her fearlessness in the face of an imposing Hurricane Katrina, expected to make landfall near New Orleans the next day, from her first-floor Uptown apartment.
But I was having difficulty, although safe in a hotel room near Memphis. I was frantic, yelling into the phone at Yasmin, "You cannot stay there."