The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday launched a review of coal ash storage facilities and said it would draft regulations for coal ash by the end of the year.
In a letter sent to the corporate headquarters of 61 power companies, the agency asks for information about the contents, historic spills and record of inspections at the estimated 300 coal ash storage ponds and landfills nationwide.
The review comes after a spill at a Tennessee Valley Authority power plant in Kingston, Tenn., flooded more than 300 acres of land and killed fish in nearby rivers. The information provided by power producers and inspections conducted by the EPA will help prevent future threats to human health and the environment, EPA adviser Lisa Jackson said.
“Environmental disasters like the one last December in Kingston should never happen anywhere in the country,” said Jackson.
Coal ash is a byproduct of burning coal that can include heavy metals and other toxic contaminants. The latest Energy Department data shows that 721 power plants nationwide produced 95.8 million tons of coal ash in 2005.
But no federal regulations or standards govern its storage and disposal, even though the EPA has long recognized coal ash as a risk to human health and the environment.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina
Climber dies after ice bridge breaks
A U.S. mountain climbing instructor died and two American students were injured when the ice bridge they were crossing on an Argentina peak broke, plunging them into a crevasse, officials of the sponsoring organization said Monday.
Matthew Lizotte of Aspen, Colo., 25, died Sunday while scaling 11,411-foot Mount Tronador in Argentina’s Nahuel Huapi National Park, Whitney Montgomery, executive director of North Carolina Outward Bound School, told the Associated Press.
Two unidentified students were injured, including one with a fractured arm. The other suffered multiple fractures and a chest injury, but the student’s “condition continues to improve,” Montgomery said.
Martha Stewart’s dog killed in blast
Martha Stewart’s chow puppy was one of 17 dogs killed in an accidental propane explosion at an eastern Pennsylvania kennel.
Stewart wrote on her blog that she was “deeply saddened” by the death of her dog, Genghis Khan, in Friday’s blast at Pazzazz Pet Boarding, a kennel in the Pocono Mountains that breeds and trains show dogs.
Fifteen dogs were killed in the explosion, and two more died over the weekend.
The kennel was getting a propane delivery when the tank ignited, setting the pens on fire and injuring the driver, Timothy Kleinhagen, of Summit Hill, who managed to toss a cairn terrier over the kennel fence to safety.