Friday, February 26, 2010

Coal Ash Controversy

Coal Ash Controversy

Reported by: Cynthia Gould
Last Update: 2/25 11:04 pm
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Coal Ash Controversy

Neighbors who live across from the Arrowhead Landfill in Uniontown say they’re afraid for their health and their property.
80 year old Ruby Holmes says what should have been the best days of her life, have turned into the worst days.
The landfill spans nearly a thousand acres. It was first pitched as a landfill for household garbage; now coal ash from one of the worst environmental disasters is being hauled in here and dumped everyday. It is brought by train from Kingston, Tennessee through Birmingham to Uniontown in Perry County.
Residents say the coal ash should have stayed in Tennessee. The coal ash is a by product of coal fired power plants. It is a mix of arsenic, lead and other chemicals and heavy metals. Both the EPA and ADEM approved plans to dump the coal ash here, along with the Perry County Commission.
Perry County Commissioner Albert Turner says the agreement has meant new jobs for the depressed area and will eventually mean about $3.5 million dollars for the county budget to use for things like infrastructure and schools.
John Wathen of the environmental group Hurrican Creekkeeper in Tuscaloosa calls the dumping of coal ash in Alabama an environmental crime
A lawsuit on behalf of more than 150 residents is now in the works. Even Governor Bob Riley says it may be time for the state to take a more active role in regulating big landfills.
“The last thing Alabama wants is to be known as the dumping ground for the rest of the U.S.,” said Riley in an interview.
CBS 42 News has tried several times to contact the owners of the Arrowhead Landfill. They have not returned our calls.
The EPA is looking at regulating coal ash waste. The disaster in Kingston where a dike for a coal ash holding pond burst led to renewed focus on how coal ash is being stored and disposed of at power plants across the country.

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