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June 30, 2009

EPA Posts List of 44 High Risk Coal Ash Sites

This is great news for the public's right to know. On the heels of the Sierra Club filing a Freedom of Information Act request two weeks ago requesting that the government release the list of 44 coal ash storage sites deemed "high risk" - today the Environmental Protection Agency did release that list.

UPDATE: We've mapped all 44 sites onto Google Maps so you can see just where all these high-risk coal ash storage sites are. Take a look.

You can find the list right here on the EPA website. The list breaks down like this:

  • Six sites in Ohio
  • Three in West Virginia
  • Seven in Kentucky
  • One in Indiana
  • Nine in Arizona
  • 12 in North Carolina
  • Two in Illinois
  • One in Pennsylvania
  • One in Georgia
  • One in Montana

So Arizona, North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio have the brunt of these high-risk coal ash storage sites. When thinking back to the Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash tragedy in Harriman, TN, this past December, this certainly makes one nervous.

Looks like the EPA is feeling similarly:

“The presence of liquid coal ash impoundments near our homes, schools and business could pose a serious risk to life and property in the event of an impoundment rupture” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “By compiling a list of these facilities, EPA will be better able to identify and reduce potential risks by working with states and local emergency responders.”

EPA needs to regulate coal ash because it is a hazardous substance. You can tell your Senators to stand up to the coal industry and support strong coal ash regulations.

You can also read our statement about the coal ash site posting. To learn more about coal ash and its risks, please take a look at the coal ash fact sheet we produced with EarthJustice (PDF).


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