Environmental groups are using the fourth anniversary of a massive ash spill near Knoxville to raise the call for stronger regulation. The disaster at the Kingston Fossil Plant prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its rules for coal ash, but little has changed since then.
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the Southern Environmental Law Center and others are trying to spur an outcry to regulate coal ash. They’re putting out a map, and point to some 44 ash ponds in Tennessee alone.
Fly ash is what’s left after power companies like the Tennessee Valley Authority burn coal for energy. It’s often stored in manmade lakes, and when the earthen wall of one broke in late 2008, millions of tons of sludge flooded nearby rivers and countryside.