SPRINGFIELD — After years of work by environmental activists to push action on the issue, the Illinois Pollution Control Board has issued findings and recommendations related to the regulation of coal ash storage — an action advocates call “the first of its kind” in the state.
Coal ash, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, is the collection of byproducts of coal-burning power plants, which includes fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag and various other residues.
The material, also referred to as coal combustion residual, or CCR, is typically kept in storage ponds located on the grounds near coal-burning power plants, known as surface impoundments.
The impoundments typically contain high amounts of hazardous material, including mercury, cadmium and arsenic, which can pollute and contaminate surrounding bodies of water and drinking water supplies.
While some disposal site operators have taken proper steps to mitigate pollution from the storage ponds, the sites have remained largely unregulated until recently, in some cases lying totally exposed to the elements.
‘Ugly stepchildren’ of environmental issues
Jennifer Cassel, an attorney with Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law group, referred to coal ash regulations as “the ugly stepchildren” of environmental issues, noting lawmakers have long failed to give the issue adequate attention.
Region: Decatur,City: Decatur,Politics,Region: Central
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May 19, 2021 at 02:10PM