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Posted Sun Feb 22 2009: from The Center for Public Integrity:
Coal Ash: The Hidden Story
...For decades, the dangers of coal ash had largely been hidden from public view. That all changed in December 2008, when an earthen dam holding a billion gallons of coal ash in a pond collapsed in eastern Tennessee, deluging 300 acres in gray muck, destroying houses and water supplies, and dirtying a river. But what happened in the Volunteer State represents just a small slice of the potential threat from coal ash. In many states -- at ponds, landfills, and pits where coal ash gets dumped -- a slow seepage of the ash's metals has poisoned water supplies, damaged ecosystems, and jeopardized citizens' health. In July 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified 63 "proven or potential damage cases" in 23 states where coal ash has tarnished groundwater and harmed ecology. Additional cases of contamination have since surfaced in states as far-flung as Maryland, New Mexico, Indiana, and Virginia. And in some locations, like Colstrip, the contamination has resulted in multimillion-dollar payouts to residents enduring the devastation. Despite the litany of damage, there's no meaningful federal regulation of coal ash on the books; indeed, oversight of ash disposal -- much of it stunningly casual -- is largely left to the states.
[Read more stories about: contamination, heavy metals, governmental idiocy, toxic sludge, coal issues]

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Looks like we all got coal ash in our Christmas stockings.

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