"There are coal ash sites around the country, but the issue is of particular importance in the Southeast, which has a disproportionate number of coal ash sites near waterways."The AP, reported by ABC TV
Coal ash is more than an abstract issue for Alabamians. Millions of cubic tons of it was carried by a seemingly endless string of rail cars from Tennessee to a huge for-profit landfill in Uniontown in the poor black belt of Alabama. The coal ash had spilled from a coal ash pond when its walls broke late in 2008.
|A coal ash idsposal pond in Greene County, Alabama|
Some Alabama Public Service Commission members have called it a "war on coal" orchestrated by The Obama Administration. Those fears created an unusual joint effort by unions and business to protect coal jobs.
Sister company Georgia Power is shutting down all of the coal ash ponds in that state. It will coast as much as $2-Billion Dollars.
Alabama Power spokesmen predict the same will happen in Alabama, but no schedule has been developed, and no cost predicted.
A judge in Virginia is considering the case of a power company there, and whether the company violated The Clear Water Act when its coal ash ponds seeped heavy metals into ground water.
A recent study of fifteen coal ash sites in five states (not including Alabama) found all of them were leaking into groundwater.
The Alabama Rivers Alliance environmental group says there are some 45 coals ash ponds in Alabama.
The ABC report suggests the coal ash issue will end up at the top of the legal food chain:
"This has Supreme Court written all over it," said Patrick Parenteau, a professor at Vermont Law School who specializes in environmental law.
[Sunday Focus is a regular feature of www.TimLennox.com]