EPA coal ash standards a setback for environmental groups - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

EPA coal ash standards a setback for environmental groups

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By DYLAN LOVAN, TRAVIS LOLLER and DINA CAPPIELLO
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Six years ago, there was a massive spill of coal ash sludge in Tennessee. Three years later, tons of coal ash swept into Lake Michigan. Last February, there was another spill and gray sludge spewed into the Dan River in North Carolina.

With each disaster, environmentalists sounded alarms and called for the byproduct of burning coal to be treated as hazardous waste. On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the first standards for the coal-burning waste, but they were hardly what environmental groups were hoping for.

The EPA ruled that the ash can be treated like regular garbage, meaning regulating the stuff will be left up to states and watchful citizens.

The coal industry supported the less strict classification, arguing that the ash wasn't dangerous.

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