Environment Georgia and our allies have a long history of advocating for the safe clean-up of toxic coal ash. Coal ash is the highly toxic residue left behind after burning coal and contains toxins like arsenic, mercury, and lead. For decades, coal ash has been stored in unlined “ponds” around power plants. Georgia’s 43 coal ash dumpsites containing heavy metals and toxic chemicals associated with various health issues have contaminated Georgia’s water–industry data reveals that approximately 91% of coal plants in the United States are polluting groundwater with toxic substances beyond federal health standards.
Now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public input on a proposed rule to address the issue of toxic coal ash from retired power plants. The EPA aims to close a regulatory loophole that allows utilities to avoid cleaning up the contamination caused by coal ash disposal.
The EPA emphasizes that closed power plants, where toxic metals are more likely to be dumped into unlined and unmonitored coal ash ponds and landfills, pose a greater health risk to the public. Public comments on the proposed rule are being accepted until July 17. You can sign-on to Environment Georgia’s petition on our website here.