Six years after one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history, the EPA adopted a rule to regulate a byproduct of coal power plants. The new regulation puts coal ash in the same category as household garbage, disappointing many activists.
"In the early morning hours of Dec. 22, 2008, a dike failed at the (TVA) Kingston (coal power) plant [40 miles west Knoxville, Tenn.], unleashing a billion gallons of coal ash that smothered about 300 acres of land," write Rachel Kinney and Kelsey Page of Knoxville-based WBIR TV. As a result of this and subsequent spills, including most recently the Feb. 2 Dan River spill in North Carolina, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally regulated coal ash, adopting a new rule on Dec. 19, almost four years to the date later.
"This new rule protects communities from coal ash impoundment failures, like the catastrophic Kingston, Tennessee spill, and establishes safeguards to prevent groundwater contamination and air emissions from coal ash disposal," blogs EPA's
In fact, if it was to be classified as hazardous waste, "it would prevent them from recycling coal ash to make it into building materials, like concrete and wallboard," writes Climate Progress reporter, Emily Atkin.
Indeed, the EPA has estimated that approximately 45 percent of all coal ash is currently recycled, whole the rest of it is disposed in ponds and landfills.
But environmentalists have taken issue with the recycling process too, saying the lack of regulation on the reuse process means that many recycling facilities are just “dumpsites in disguise." [See Earthjustice report: "Out of Control: Mounting Damages From Coal Ash Waste Sites, Feb. 24, 2010 (PDF).]
EPA directs readers to learn more about coal ash, "one of the largest types of industrial waste generated in the United States. In 2012, 470 coal-fired electric utilities generated about 110 million tons of coal ash."
Hat tip to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Daily Digest Bulletin
Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes
The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.
LA Freeway Ramp ‘Quietly Canceled’
A 2018 lawsuit forced Metro and Caltrans to do full environmental reviews of the project, leading to its cancellation.
LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water
The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.
Micromobility Operators Call for Better Links to Transit
For shared mobility to succeed, systems must tap into the connectivity and funding potential offered by closer collaboration with public transit.
Retaining Transit Workers Is About More Than Wages
An analysis of California transit employees found a high rate of burnout among operators who face unpredictable work schedules, high housing costs, and occasional violence.
California's Stormwater Potential
A new study reveals that if California could collect and treat more stormwater in cities, it could provide enough water to supply a quarter of the state’s urban population.
Tufts University Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
City of Birmingham, Alabama
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.