Op-EdThe long road to coal-ash regulation

Even as the White House, under President Bush in 2001, envisioned 1,300 new electric power plants to be built in two decades, most of them using coal, the Environmental Protection Agency worried about harm to waterways from this source.

Coal plants daily dispose into rivers, streams, lakes, ash-slurry lagoons and groundwater tables millions of gallons of waste-water loaded with toxic pollutants like arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium and many others.

At least 5.5 billion pounds of the pollutants make it into waterways every year. They have caused over 160 water bodies not to meet state water quality standards and fish from 185 water bodies to be unsafe to eat. Nearly 400 public drinking water sources are degraded, and the pollutants’ discharge occurs within five miles of a drinking water intake for 40 percent of all plants. More...

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