Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
If you make a contribution of $150 or more, you will become an official “Friend of the Planet” and receive a Friend of the Planet T-shirt or water bottle. You can also submit opinion essays to us for our consideration for posting on our new “Bright Ideas” op-ed page.
Coal ash is an incredibly toxic byproduct of coal-derived energy that activists have pushed for years for regulators to address and are now finally having success. Water contamination from coal ash ponds (the pits where the sludge is stored) is widespread and we’re learning more about the extent of the pollution constantly. In fact, a recent analysis by the Environmental Integrity Project revealed that toxic coal ash pollutants are leaking into groundwater surrounding 100 percent of Texas’s power plants for which data are available, with unsafe levels of arsenic, cobalt, lithium, and other pollutants seeping from the ash dumps.
As Earth Justice (an analyst of the EIP data) recently reported, industry groundwater monitoring data made publicly available for the first time in 2018 thanks to a new requirement in federal coal ash regulations reveal multiple contaminants leaching from 16 of 16 coal-fired power plants in Texas to which the new rules apply. The analysis concluded that concludes that both the fossil fuel industry and Texas regulators have consistently failed to protect Texas groundwater. Environmental Integrity Project attorney Abel Russ, an author of the report, said that “We found contamination everywhere we looked, poisoning groundwater aquifers and recreational fishing spots across the state, this confirms that dumping large volumes of toxic waste in poorly-lined pits is a terrible idea. The problem is, unfortunately, going to get even worse unless Texas power plants change the way they dispose of coal ash.”
U.S. coal plants produce around 100 million tons of ash every year from hundreds of sites across the country. For much of the last century, many utilities dumped this waste into unlined landfills and waste ponds, even though the lack of a barrier between the coal ash and groundwater left them vulnerable to leaks and contamination of underground water supplies. Only in recent years has the true scope of coal ash’s threat come into public view.
Why This Matters: After the disastrous TVA Kingston Fossil Plant spill poured 1.1 billion gallons of coal ash flurry across Eastern Tennessee, the Obama administration worked to strengthen rules regarding how the toxic substance should be stored and handled. The Trump administration, on the other hand, has worked to weaken and delay implementation of those rules which puts millions of Americans in jeopardy. Just this week it was revealed that coal ash has was dumped into a South Carolina river and earlier in February it was revealed that the Tennessee Valley Authority would be passing along the costs of the fallout of the Kingston spill onto its customers. Not only do we need more stringent regulations but this also underscores the need to transition to renewable energy which doesn’t produce toxic waste as a byproduct that needs to be stored somewhere.
Oil and gas companies continue to pump the government for cash. Bloomberg Law News reported that the Administration has granted 76 royalty waivers to oil and gas companies who are drilling for oil on federal land in Utah — lowering the rates from 12.5% to as low as 2.5%.
Why This Matters: The giveaways to oil and gas companies in the name of saving jobs just keep coming.
To put it bluntly, the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline has been a 12-year catastrophe. From when the pipeline (stretching from Alberta to Nebraska) was first proposed in 2008, to when it was vetoed by President Obama in 2015, to the Trump administration’s fractured attempt to reinstate construction, the pipeline has been the embodiment […]
In what one tax watchdog called a “stealth” bailout, dozens of oil and gas companies are taking advantage of provisions in the CARES law to write off losses right away and get an immediate tax refund against prior years’ earnings going back to 2018, according to Bloomberg News.
Why This Matters: These refunds also carry forward – so oil and gas companies can expect to pay zero taxes for years to come, according to Bloomberg.
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.