NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Four years after a massive coal ash spill in East Tennessee, environmental conservation groups have launched an interactive website and map that shows the location and hazard risks for coal ash sites at 100 power plants throughout the Southeast.
The website, www.southeastcoalash.org , is a project of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Appalachian Voices, Southern Environmental Law Center and North Carolina Conservation Network.
Since the 2008 spill of 5 million cubic yards of ash into a river about 35 miles west of Knoxville at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil plant, environmentalists have been increasingly sounding an alarm about coal ash, a waste byproduct stored at coal-fired plants, and the possibility of water contamination.
The site lists details on coal ash impoundments for power plants in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The details include the size and location, local maps, nearby waterways and whether the Environmental Protection Agency has rated the risk if the impoundments fail, as the one in Tennessee did.
Ulla Reeves, regional program director for Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said the main goal of the website is to prompt residents near these sites to urge the EPA to regulate the coal ash as a hazardous waste. Regulations for these coal ash impoundments are currently left up to states, but the spill in Tennessee prompted the EPA to reconsider its rules.