News | May 24, 2024

EPA denies reckless coal ash plan

A special message from Alabama Office Director Barry Brock
Coal ash pollution from Plant Barry impacts Alabamas's drinking water supplies from the banks of the Mobile River. (Nancy Pierce/Flight By Southwings)
Barry Brock

We have great news unfolding in Alabama. Thousands of you joined us and voiced your concerns about toxic coal ash pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency has heard our calls and acted. 

Twenty-one million tons of this toxic waste sit in an unlined pit at Plant Barry — upstream from the City of Mobile and the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world.

This week, EPA rejected Alabama’s state permitting program that would permit Alabama Power to keep the coal ash in unlined pits submerged in groundwater, leaching harmful chemicals like arsenic and mercury into the environment. 

Alabama and the utility are now required to keep this pollution out of our rivers by closing coal ash ponds in compliance with federal law.

Thanks to you, EPA is sending a strong message to the State of Alabama and polluters like Alabama Power — you must clean up your toxic mess. 

It’s the only solution that makes sense. Not only for the communities who depend on our waterways, but the hundreds of plants and animals that call this biodiversity hotspot in Alabama home — like the green tree frogs, great blue herons, alligators, cypress trees, and black-bellied whistling ducks. 

This great news continues some of SELC’s longest standing and most meaningful work. Across the South, we’ve pushed monopoly utilities to clean up over a quarter of a billion tons of coal ash and secured stronger state and federal-level protections for our communities. In North Carolina, our lawsuits resulted in the largest coal ash cleanup in our country’s history with commitments to excavate or recycle 126 million tons from leaking, unlined pits across the state. 

We could not have spurred the clean-up of this much coal ash without the backing and commitment of advocates we can count on. Thanks again for your role in notching this victory. 

Coal ash is bad for the South.