Tag Archives: Coal ash

Relaxed environmental regulations heighten risk during natural disasters

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Environmental regulations generally improve communities’ preparedness and resilience during disasters. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Brian J. Gerber, Arizona State University and Melanie Gall, Arizona State University

Heavy rains following Hurricane Florence have raised concerns over the release of toxic materials. Ash from coal-fired power plants stored at a landfill has spilled out and the state of North Carolina has said dozens of sites have released hog waste or are at risk of doing so.

These types of events not only highlight the potential of harm to humans and the environment due to this type of uncontrolled pollution, but also the linkage between environmental regulations and the risks communities face when natural disasters occur. Continue reading

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Nuclear Plants, Toxic Waste Sites Under Threat as Florence Readies ‘Mike Tyson Punch to Carolina Coast’

As new pathway of storm predicted, National Hurricane Center calls looming storm “very large and incredibly dangerous”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-12-2018

Satellite image of Hurricane Florence swirling in the Atlantic Ocean as it approaches the U.S. coastline in the early hours of Wednesday morning. (Photo: CIRA/RAAMB)

With reports of skyscraper-likes waves out at sea, the potential for historic coastal surges and rainfall, and severe threats to vulnerable nuclear plants and other industrial waste sites—a behemoth Hurricane Florence is fast-approaching the southeastern U.S. coast on Wednesday as weather experts and emergency management officials intensify their warnings about the dangers the “once-in-a-lifetime” storm poses.

With state governments in South Carolina and North Carolina issuing evacuations along the coast and other potential flood zones, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has said that it is mobilizing for a storm that could knock out power for weeks and lead to the displacement of tens if not hundreds of thousands of residents across multiple states. Continue reading

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‘Mind-bogglingly Dangerous’: Trump EPA Rolls Back Water Pollution Limits for Coal Plants

“A bold-faced gift to the coal industry at the expense of the health of families everywhere”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-14-2017

The EPA placed a delay on a rule that would have limited wastewater pollution from coal-fired plants. (Photo: pennjohnson/Flickr/cc)

In a move that critics are calling “deeply disturbing,” the Trump administration announced on Wednesday a two-year delay to an Obama-era rule limiting wastewater pollution at coal plants.

In 2015 the Obama administration developed new limits on metals including lead, mercury, and arsenic in coal-fired plants’ wastewater, set to go into effect in 2018. The pollutants in question “can cause severe health problems, including cancer and lowered I.Q. among children, as well as deformities and reproductive harm in fish and wildlife,” according to the Center for Biological Diversity, which fought against the rollback of the limits. Continue reading

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These Four People Were Sued for $30 Million for Trying to Stop a Toxic Landfill

‘The Constitution prevents companies from using lawsuits to silence their critics,’ says ACLU

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-2-2016

Benjamin Eaton, Mary B. Schaeffer, Esther Calhoun, and Ellis B. Long were sued by a corporate landfill owner for $30 million after speaking out against the hazardous dump on Facebook. (Photo: ACLU)

Benjamin Eaton, Mary B. Schaeffer, Esther Calhoun, and Ellis B. Long were sued by a corporate landfill owner for $30 million after speaking out against the hazardous dump on Facebook. (Photo: ACLU)

After being sued for $30 million by a corporate landfill owner for “speaking their truth in order to protect their community,” four residents of Uniontown, Alabama—a poor, predominantly Black town with a median per capita income of around $8,000—are fighting back.

On Thursday, the ACLU asked a federal court to dismiss the defamation lawsuit against Esther Calhoun, Benjamin Eaton, Ellis B. Long, and Mary B. Schaeffer—all members of the community group Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice. Continue reading

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Guilty as Charged: Duke Energy to Pay Record Fine for Coal Ash Crimes

‘What this admission of guilt does not do is clean up the coal ash that continues to leak into our water supplies, into our rivers.’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published May 15, 2015

Duke Energy pleaded guilty to crimes under the Clean Water Act in federal court on Thursday, including crimes related to this spill of coal ash pollution from its site along the Dan River in February 2014. (Photo: Waterkeeper Alliance)

Duke Energy pleaded guilty on Thursday to environmental crimes and has agreed to pay a record $102 million in fines and restitution for years of illegal pollution, ignored warnings, and poorly maintained infrastructure.

U.S. District Court Judge Malcolm Howard said it is the largest federal criminal fine in North Carolina history. Continue reading

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