EPA to Regulate Mercury Emissions, May Tag Coal Ash ‘Toxic’

by | Oct 30, 2009

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TVAcoalashdredgingThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering labeling coal ash as toxic waste, while the agency moves to regulate mercury emissions at coal-fired power plants.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released a 230-page report on coal ash that comes 10 months after a spill of 1.1 billion gallons of coal ash slurry at the Kingston power plant operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), reports UPI.

TVA continues its dredging operations to remove ash from the navigation channel of the Emory River, which is a key milestone in the recovery of the Kingston Fossil Plant ash and remediation of the local environment, according to TVA.

The report shows that coal ash in waterways has killed fish and other wildlife, damaged their reproductive capacity and contaminated wells, according to the article. The toxins in coal ash include arsenic, mercury and selenium.

At the same time, the EPA will implement controls on the emissions of hazardous pollutants such as mercury from coal-fired power plants for the first time by November 2011, according to an agreement to settle a lawsuit against the agency, reports Physorg.com.

The Clinton administration, before leaving office, declared that plants should be subject to controls under the Clean Air Act, but the Bush administration reversed that decision, and instead, set up a cap-and-trade system, which imposed limits on emissions and established a system to trade pollution allowances, reports Physorg.com

In February 2008, a federal appeals court overturned the decision and ordered the EPA to regulate toxic air pollutants from power plants, after which the American Nurses Association and environmental groups sued to force the EPA to issue the regulations, reports PHysorg.com.

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