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.

Southeast River Runs Part 10: Five things you can do to stop coal ash pollution

This is the tenth and final blog in a series featuring rivers of the Southeast endangered by toxic coal ash pollution. The rest of the series can be found here. Many thanks to all the Riverkeepers who helped with our series.  “Rivers run through our history and folklore, and link us as a people. They nourish [...]

Ash Time Goes By, Part 3

This guest post is written by Michael Patoka of the Center for Progressive Reform, and was originally entitled “Ash Time Goes By: Administration Continues Foot-Dragging on Coal Ash Rule as Toxic Landfills and Ash Ponds Grow by 94 Million Tons Each Year” It is reposted here, with permission, as a three-part series. Three years after it was [...]

Southeast River Runs Part 9: Coal Ash on the Tennessee River

This is the ninth blog in a series featuring rivers of the Southeast endangered by toxic coal ash pollution. The rest of the series can be found here. Thanks to David Whiteside, Tennessee Riverkeeper, who contributed to this post. Just east of Knoxville, Tennessee the Holston and French Broad Rivers come together to form the [...]

Southeast River Runs Part 8: Coal ash on the Savannah River

This is the eighth blog in a series featuring rivers of the Southeast endangered by toxic coal ash pollution. The rest of the series can be found here. Thanks to Tonya Bonitatibus, Savannah Riverkeeper, who contributed to this post. From its headwaters in the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, the Savannah River flows 300 miles [...]

Southeast River Runs Part 7: Coal ash on the ACF River Basin

This is the seventh blog in a series featuring rivers of the Southeast endangered by toxic coal ash pollution. The rest of the series can be found here. Thanks to Dan Tonsmiere, Apalachicola Riverkeeper and Juliet Cohen of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper who contributed to this post. The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, or ACF, covers 19,800 square miles in western Georgia, eastern [...]

Southeast River Runs Part 5: Coal Ash on the Waccamaw River

This is the fifth blog in a series featuring rivers of the Southeast endangered by toxic coal ash pollution. The rest of the series can be found here. Thanks to Christine Ellis, Waccamaw Riverkeeper, who contributed to this post. The Waccamaw River flows over 140 miles from Lake Waccamaw in North Carolina to Winyah Bay [...]