Groups sue EPA over coal ash to ‘get on our backs’

Gov. Steve Beshear (D-Friend of Coal) may want the EPA to “get off our backs,” but yesterday environmental groups followed through on their promise to file suit against the EPA for not doing enough to regulate coal ash, the byproduct of coal-fired power plants that contains arsenic, lead, hexavalent chromium, mercury, selenium, cadmium and other toxins.

The groups joining the suit are: Earthjustice, Appalachian Voices (NC), Environmental Integrity Project, Chesapeake Climate Action Network (MD), French Broad Riverkeeper (NC), Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KY), Moapa Band of Paiutes (NV), Montana Environmental Information Center (MT), Physicians for Social Responsibility, Prairie Rivers Network (IL), Sierra Club and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (TN).

From their press release, they hope to force the EPA to “complete its rulemaking process and finalize public health safeguards against toxic coal ash. Although the EPA has not updated its waste disposal and control standards for coal ash in over thirty years, it continues to delay these needed federal protections despite more evidence of leaking waste ponds, poisoned groundwater supplies and threats to public health.”

The groups pointed to EPA data showing that an additional 29 power plants in 16 states have contaminated groundwater near coal ash dump sites.

Louisville has two coal ash ponds at LG&E’s Millcreek and Cane Run power plants that have shown to be leaking into the Ohio River. Testing done by the Metro Air Pollution Control District confirms neighbors complaints on Cane Run Road that fly ash is blowing from LG&E’s coal ash landfill onto homes across the street.

The full lawsuit can be read here (PDF).