Indiana environmentalists push back on EPA's coal ash rules

Indiana environmentalists are criticizing the easing of toxic coal ash regulations by President Donald Trump's administration.

Posted: Jul 20, 2018 10:12 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana environmentalists are criticizing the easing of toxic coal ash regulations by President Donald Trump's administration.

Environmental leaders say the new rule changes for coal-fired power plants put Indiana residents particularly at risk because the state has the most coal ash ponds in the country, the Indianapolis Star reported.

"There is nothing in this rule ... that is beneficial to the public health or environment," said Lisa Evans, an attorney for nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced amendments on Wednesday to Obama-era regulations for the disposal of coal ash from electric utilities. The ash left from burning coal is filled with contaminants such as arsenic, chromium and boron that leach into nearby groundwater and waterways.

The changes give state regulators flexibility in how they deal with large waste piles resulting from burning coal for electricity. Other amendments push back the deadline to close problematic ash dumps, weaken drinking water protections by removing some contamination limits and allowing state officials to end groundwater monitoring.

The revisions will save between $28 million and $31 million a year in regulatory costs, according to the EPA's announcement. The release didn't mention any benefits to the environment or public health as it relates to the rule.

Greater flexibility relating to ash dumps is the last thing Indiana needs, said Indra Frank, the environmental health and policy director with the Hoosier Environmental Council.

"The EPA's changes to the coal ash rule will set Indiana up for more groundwater contamination, a reduction in the number of contaminated sites that get cleaned up, slower cleanups for those that do and a higher risk of coal ash spills," Frank said.

As many as 15 power plants in Indiana have groundwater with dangerous levels of pollution, according to the newspaper's analysis. Frank said the toxins in the water around the ash ponds render the aquifers "unfit for human consumption" and raise the risk for cancer, heart disease and brain damage in children.

West Lafayette
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 60°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 57°
Rensselaer
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 59°
Fowler
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 60°
Williamsport
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 58°
Crawfordsville
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 59°
Frankfort
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 59°
Delphi
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 57°
Monticello
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 57°
Logansport
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 55°
Clearing skies with warm and breezy conditions
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1107189

Reported Deaths: 17621
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1446032234
Lake718651243
Allen66280881
Hamilton50567487
St. Joseph49217645
Elkhart39818546
Vanderburgh34458496
Tippecanoe30484274
Johnson27431465
Hendricks26064382
Porter25355386
Madison20880450
Clark20071278
Vigo18905309
LaPorte17019261
Howard16577313
Delaware16575299
Monroe16463220
Kosciusko14118166
Hancock12984185
Bartholomew12813190
Warrick12113190
Wayne11987268
Floyd11939226
Grant11845241
Morgan10324191
Boone9770121
Noble9181122
Henry9093167
Marshall9002147
Dearborn8900100
Dubois8778139
Shelby8178129
Cass8099127
Lawrence7989184
DeKalb7693108
Jackson758393
Huntington7548111
Gibson7045118
Montgomery6986123
Harrison6905100
Knox6884115
Steuben661988
Miami6530111
Whitley651460
Putnam638384
Clinton622177
Wabash6137111
Jasper607392
Jefferson5760104
Ripley553093
Adams537981
Daviess5042117
Scott485780
Wells4787103
White472869
Greene4661100
Clay460562
Decatur4576110
Jennings445767
Fayette442894
LaGrange423190
Posey405444
Randolph3872107
Washington387056
Fountain370464
Fulton361673
Spencer359247
Starke351574
Owen349677
Sullivan346654
Orange326572
Jay323950
Rush304332
Carroll291839
Franklin289544
Perry287153
Vermillion282058
Tipton249465
Parke248530
Pike245544
Blackford219744
Pulaski207559
Newton180652
Brown174250
Crawford168329
Benton165517
Martin152119
Switzerland146812
Warren133916
Union120516
Ohio92113
Unassigned0588

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events