Site of Tennessee Coal Ash Spill Left Off EPA's 'High Hazard' List

I'm scratching my head (and shaking my fist) over this nugget of information:

"The Tennessee site of one of the nation's worst coal ash spills failed to make a federal list of ash storage ponds posing the highest potential threat to nearby residents -- a list that was compiled in response to the massive Tennessee disaster."

That's the opening sentence of a story in the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Certainly we can't go back in time but if we could it seems rather obvious that if any of the nation's hundreds of coal waste dumps merits mention on America's "most dangerous" list the pond that breached at TVA's Kingston power plant should rank pretty high.  Perhaps if it had been on the list, problems that led to the massive spill might have been detected early enough to be fixed.

This begs the question: What is being done to address the imminent risks posed by the 44 "high hazard" coal ash dumps perched precariously above countless communities around the country?

Here's a typical ash pond, this one located in Missouri uncomfortably close to a neighborhood:

The EPA has pledged to propose new regulations by the end of the year to treat coal ash -- for the first time ever -- as hazardous under federal law.  That's a good thing, and it's about time.  You can help them along by taking action here.

Beyond that, the Kingston disaster and the ongoing threat posed by coal ash waste should spur our leaders to think twice about rejecting a new, clean energy path in favor of dirty and dangerous coal power.