02 July 2009


02 July 2009

The EPA has just released a list of coal ash ponds in danger of bursting. This report has gone unpublished until now, as the sites are so toxic it was feared they would become a terrorist target. There are about 1,100 coal-fired power plants in the USA (you can be sure there is one near you). I’m not going to discuss the 50 tons of mercury they emit, or all of the uranium, global warming gases and the many other toxics. Today I am talking about the waste ash, of which an average plant produces 125,000 tons a year. And this is nasty stuff, including: arsenic, mercury, chromium, cadmium and uranium, all things you don’t want to drink. Oops, did I forget to mention that the ash is dumped in unlined ponds that leach into the groundwater? The EPA (that great protector of industry) does not regulate coal ash and is just reluctantly starting to sample groundwater around these ponds. What a surprise, many of them have contaminated the groundwater.

But wait, the story gets better: In an effort to dispose of the stuff, the Bush cabal came up with a “beneficial use” alternative to disposal. So, they are mixing this highly toxic, very nasty stuff in with sheetrock and concrete. What will they think of next? Just before Christmas 2008, one of these ponds at a TVA coal plant burst, causing the largest industrial disaster in US history, dumping 1.7 million cubic yards of this lovely stuff into the Emory River, burying the houses along the river, and doing who knows what other damage. "Don’t worry," they said, "it’s just mud" (the government is here to help you, God love 'em!)

We generate half of our electricity from coal. To get at it, we are destroying West Virginia. Burning it is the largest cause of global warming, not to mention that it is poisoning our waterways with mercury and whatever else. And when it’s done, the ash is poisoning our drinking water.

Turn off the lights.

No comments: