This occurred 14 days after the GOP-controlled House blocked an EPA regulation which would treat coal-ash as a hazardous material.
Today the Birmingham News reports that:
Alabama’s coal-fired power plants dispose of almost 15 million pounds of toxic metals in on-site ash ponds, more than plants in any other state. Alabama Power Co.’s Miller Steam Plant in western Jefferson County sends more toxic metals to its ash pond than any other plant in the country, more than 5 million pounds annually. . .
In addition to the assessment EPA made of the condition of ash pond dams across the country, the agency also classified ash ponds by the level of hazard posed if dams were to fail.
All but one of the Alabama Power ponds were classified as a significant risk, meaning that, if a rupture occurred, environmental and property damage would result. One ash pond at the Gaston plant in Shelby County’s Wilsonville is classified as a high hazard, meaning that loss of life could occur if a dam broke. All the ponds lie near waterways that receive treated discharge from the ponds.
But according to ALGOP Congressmen like Mike Rogers, safely regulating these pools is “overreach”:
Even so, one of the EPA’s two approaches would have regulated coal ash under laws treating the byproduct as a hazardous waste, giving federal officials enforcement powers, creating disposal restrictions and effectively phasing out the use of ash ponds and forcing power plants to shift to landfills.