Pruitt EPA’s Water Pollution Delay Extends Uncertainty for Southeast Coal Plants

Since 1982, little has changed about the toxic pollution coal-fired power plants are allowed to dump in water, although change was on its way. Unfortunately, if EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has his way, our waterways and our health will remain threatened by our nation’s leading source of toxic water pollution – coal fired power plants. We will have to keep on waiting for modern, updated protections and coal plant operators face continued uncertainty over their compliance obligations – uncertainty that may actually accelerate coal’s decline. In early May, Environmental groups challenged the legality Administrator Pruitt’s stay.

In the Southeast, many power plants’ operators were already preparing to meet new 2015 standards, which would go into effect in 2018, updating pollution control technology at their plants and working with state agencies to update state water discharge permits. The 2015 Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELGs), which represents the first update to these regulations since 1982, nearly eliminates dumping of ash-contaminated wastewater, and for the first time, limits the discharge of toxic heavy metals that come from removing toxics from the air pollution stream and trapping them in sludge as part of the wastewater stream.

Top 3 Coal Ash Stories to Follow in 2017

2017 is shaping up to be an important year for coal ash in the Southeast. Here are the three critical stories to watch.

“Dirty Dozen” 2016 presents yet another strike against coal-fired Plant Hammond

A new report, released on November 16, explains the concerning weaknesses of Georgia’s water pollution permits. When these permits are inevitably strengthened to limit mercury, arsenic, lead, and other toxic discharges from Georgia Power’s power plants, it will make even less economic sense to run Plant Hammond – and Georgia’s water will be safer. The [...]

EPA Updates 30-Year-Old Water Quality Standards

Thomas Cmar is an attorney with Earthjustice’s Coal program, based in Chicago, IL. This article was reposted with Earthjustice’s permission. Read the original post here. Read SACE’s statement here. We don’t use phones, drive cars or fly airplanes that were built based on 1982 safety standards, so why should we allow power plants to dump [...]

After 30 Years EPA Proposes New Coal Water Pollution Standards

On Friday, April 19, the Environmental Protection Agency met a court-ordered deadline and released long-awaited draft Coal Water Pollution Standards (also known as Effluent Limitation Guidelines or ELGs). These standards, originally scheduled for completion in 2012, are needed to replace woefully outdated rules to regulate wastewater discharges from coal ash, the toxic residue remaining when coal [...]