"Tucked among scattered pine and cypress trees near Orlando, Florida, a 175-foot-tall mountain of coal ash looms as a stark representation of this booming region's reliance on fossil fuels.
The mound is what's left over from the decades of coal burned at the Stanton Energy Center, a sprawling power-generation complex nearby whose cylindrical cooling towers send curls of steam into the clouds.
Piper Vargas thinks a lot about the coal ash landfill. Vargas fears the dust particles from the landfill carried by the wind to her tidy blue lakeside home six miles away, and what inhaling them might do to her family, especially her two young sons. She worries that toxic elements in the coal ash might seep into the area's vital groundwater."
James Bruggers and Amy Green report for NPR January 12, 2022.