Alabama regulators roll out first of several coal ash permits

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management announced the first draft coal ash permit for Alabama Power’s Plant Miller, the first of several draft permits the utility is seeking in order to cap over millions of cubic yards of coal ash in place at all six of its sites. (© Hollis Bennett)

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management announced the first draft coal ash permit for Alabama Power’s Plant Miller, the first of several draft permits the utility is seeking in order to cap over millions of cubic yards of coal ash in place at all six of its sites.

As neighboring states are excavating and removing ash to dry, lined storage, and despite alarming evidence from the utilities’ own filings that every existing coal ash site in Alabama is currently polluting the groundwater, Alabama Power, TVA, and PowerSouth Energy Cooperative are moving ahead with plans to leave coal ash in unlined pits at every single site statewide.

Utilities throughout the South are moving their ash to safe storage. This can be done, and Alabama Power can do it. Our communities deserve this protection.”

—Keith Johnston, Alabama Office Director

Located on the Black Warrior River in east Alabama, Plant Miller has stored its coal ash in an unlined piton-site since the late 1970s and continues to burn coal to this day. Alabama Power has reported exceedances of acceptable levels of arsenic, cobalt and lithium at Plant Miller.

ADEM is expected to announce more draft permits in the near future.

“The only sure way to stop the water contamination from these coal ash ponds is to move them to dry, lined landfills, not leave them in a pit forever,” said SELC Alabama Office Director, Keith Johnston. “Utilities throughout the South are moving their ash to safe storage. This can be done, and Alabama Power can do it. Our communities deserve this protection.” 

It’s critical that Alabamians make their concerns heard to ADEM as the key decision-making agency with the power to force the utilities to make the right decision to move these sources of contamination to modern landfills.

ADEM has scheduled a public hearing to receive oral and written comments on the Plant Miller draft CCR permit on Tuesday, October 20th, in Quinton, Alabama at the West Jefferson Town Hall located at 7000 West Jefferson Road at 6:00 PM CST.

Click here for more information about the hearing, including ADEM’s health and safety precautions and registration details.

Alabamians can also safely weigh in by submitting written comments to ADEM on the draft Plant Miller permit by October 27, either by email: [email protected]
Or by mailing comments to:
Russell A. Kelly, Chief
Permits and Services Division
ADEM
1400 Coliseum Blvd.
PO Box 301463; Zip 36130-1463
Montgomery, Alabama 36110-2400

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