A coalition of environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, formally asked the Dept of Homeland Security, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency to make public a list of 44 "high hazard" coal ash disposal sites across the country. With 12 (10 controlled by Duke Energy, 2 by Progress Energy), North Carolina topped the list.
Coal ash sites contain harmful amounts of mercury, lead, arsenic and other toxins, which can leak slowly into neighboring water supplies or rapidly, as the toxic sludge disaster in Tennessee illustrated. Bruce Nilles, Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign said about the release of the high hazard list, "People have a right to know if mountains of toxic coal ash are threatening their communities so they can take action and put pressure on their local utilities to demand clean up."
Find coverage all over the place. Busy? Start here: Institute for Southern Studies, Charlotte Observer. Important to note: the high hazard status doesn't reflect current safety but the likelihood of public harm should the dams fail. Want to see where they are and who's running the sites? Visit our coal ash page.