Coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler has a special place in hell waiting for him:
A coalition of nine environmental groups is suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a rule that extends the life of giant pits of toxic coal sludge, risking contamination of nearby water sources.
The July rule allows for the more than 400 coal ash pits across the nation, where coal residue is mixed with liquid and stored in open-air, often unlined ponds, to stay open as late as 2038.
We can't be shed of this monster soon enough. While it remains to be seen how much Duke Energy will try to take advantage of this, I have a hunch it will depend on if they're allowed to fleece ratepayers for cleaning up their own mess or not. A few words from Earthjustice:
“Right now toxic chemicals are poisoning water across the country because of dirty coal plants. The Trump administration acted illegally when it gave coal plants many more years to dump toxic waste in pits that contaminate waterways and drinking water sources. Instead of acting in the best interests of the American people, the administration once again put the coal power industry first,” Earthjustice attorney Lisa Evans said in a statement announcing the suit.
An Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice review of monitoring data from coal ash ponds found 91 percent were leaking toxins in excess of what EPA allows, contaminating groundwater and drinking wells in nearby communities.
Contaminants also risk spilling over the sides of the pond any time there is heavy rain.
Here's Kemp Burdette (Cape Fear Riverkeeper) years before the major failure of Sutton that he predicts in this video: