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Coal Ash Spill

Posted Jan. 25, 2009 / Posted by: RConnors

Coal Ash KillsAt the end of 2008, a large swath of Tennessee was flooded with toxic coal ash when a containment pond ruptured. The massive spill -- bigger than the oil released from the Exxon Valdez -- covered hundreds of acres of land, knocking homes off of their foundations and flowing into streams and the Clinch and Tennessee rivers. The spill is killing wildlife and poses long-term threats to human health and the environment.

Coal ash, a toxic byproduct from burning coal to create electricity, contains heavy metals including arsenic, lead, mercury and selenium, which threaten water supplies and human health. Even without disasters like the one in Tennessee, coal ash is causing problems: the EPA has identified 63 sites around the country where groundwater has already been contaminated by coal ash dumps, according to the New York Times.

Members of Congress need to hear from you, their constituents, that coal is public enemy number one. A ban on new coal-fired power plants is needed immediately, and we must rapidly phase out existing coal facilities and replace them with clean energy alternatives and energy efficiency.

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