Coal ash takes center stage

2 Nov 2011

Last year I blogged about coal ash and how EPA and industry were sparring over the proper regulatory classification for ash generated by power plants burning coal.  Given Michigan’s rank as 21st in the country in coal consumption, the 14 locations where coal ash is being stored or landfilled around Michigan didn’t receive much attention.  Happily, EPA hasn’t characterized any of these locations as a high risk site.   Last month, EPA announced the availability of data gathered from utilities regarding their coal ash storage as it related to the proposed rulemaking.

But in the epitome of bad timing, on Halloween, a Wisconsin utility had a section of cliff the size of a football field give way,  creating a mudslide that sent equipment and coal ash spilling into Lake Michigan.  I suspect a greater level of pressure on the EPA to characterize coal ash as hazardous or otherwise ramp up regulation of coal ash impoundments.

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