June 30, 2009

The word is out

The word is out. Earlier this month the blog, "44 toxic coal ash spills to be hidden from the public," informed us that utilities were making an effort to withhold the know-abouts of ash spills and ash storage ponds from the public. Now we know the locations of these hazardous ponds. We are entitled to know this information as citizens of a free nation, who are for the most part consumers of coal provided electricity. It is imperative that we know of such hazards for the sake of our own well being. Also attached to this post is a link of a video of several people who are victims to the coal ash spill in Tennessee as a result to the TVA spill. After reading, please take a look. The video illustrates the detrimental effects of such pollution.
The Sun News
Associated Press
EPA list unveils risky coal ash sites
H. Josef Herbert
June 29, 2009

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday finally 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.

North Carolina has the most sites on the list, a dozen. The largest concentration is near Cochise, Ariz., where there are seven storage ponds.

The agency said it will inspect each of the 44 coal ash sites located near communities to make certain they are structurally sound. The sites are being classified as potentially highly hazardous because they are near where people live.

"The high hazard potential means there will be probable loss of human life if there is a significant dam failure," said Matt Hale, director of EPA's office of research, conservation and recovery.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., whose Environment and Public Works Committee held hearings on the coal ash risks, hailed the EPA decision. She said making the most high-risk sites public is essential "so that people have the information they need to quickly press for action to make these sites safer." Boxer had called on the EPA to make the information available.

Burning coal produces ash, which is kept in liquid, known as slurry, in containment ponds or dams.

The EPA lists more than 400 such impoundments across the country, but the 44 singled out Monday represent those that are near populated areas, posing a higher danger.

Last year, two days before Christmas, a coal ash pond broke near Kingston, Tenn., sending 5 million cubic yards of ash and sludge across more than 300 acres, destroying or damaging 40 homes.

The incident prompted a safety review of storage ponds that hold the waste by product near large coal-burning power plants.

The storage ponds hold fly ash, bottom ash, coal slag and flue gas residues that contain toxic metals such as arsenic, selenium, cadmium, lead and mercury, although generally at low concentrations.

Until now, the national coal ash site list has not been provided to the public. Earlier this month, the Army Corps of Engineers said it didn't want the locations disclosed because of national security.

The 10 states, the number of sites and communities are:

North Carolina, 12 (Belmont, Walnut Cove, Spencer, Eden, Mount Holy, Terrell and Arden).

Arizona, 9 (Cochise, Joseph City).

Kentucky, 7 (Louisa, Harrodsburg, Ghent and Louisville).

Ohio, 6 (Waterford, Brilliant and Cheshire).

West Virginia, 4 (Willow Island, St. Albans, Moundsville, New Haven).

Illinois, 2 (Havana, Alton).

Indiana, 1 (Lawrenceburg).

Pennsylvania, 1 (Shippingport).

Georgia, 1 (Milledgeville).

Montana, 1 (Colstrip).

Two electric utilities - Columbus, Ohio-based America Electric Power and Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy Corp. - operate nearly half of the coal ash sites on the list. Spokesmen for both companies said the sites are safe.

To read this article, click here

No comments:

Post a Comment