INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana environmental regulators are reviewing utilities’ cleanup plans for
dozens of coal ash ponds, with one environmental group concerned that the
plans don’t do enough to address potential contamination.
The cleanup efforts
come after utilities across the country admitted last year to leaking toxic
chemicals from their coal ash ponds into nearby groundwater, The
Indianapolis Star reported. Indiana is home to roughly 85 coal ash ponds -
more than any other state - which hold more than 60 million cubic yards of
Indiana Public Service Company said it plans to remove ash from five ponds
at one of its plants. Several other utilities, including Duke Energy, plan
to keep the ash in place when they close their ponds.
closure plans are designed to protect people and the environment and comply
with state and federal regulations,” said Duke spokeswoman Angeline
Department of Environmental Management is reviewing the plans and has asked
utilities for additional information. The agency sent letters to utilities
in December noting that it can’t give approval until utilities show how the
plans will control contamination.
The department said
it doesn’t have the power to specifically instruct utilities on how to close
their ponds, but it has made it clear that the utilities must prevent
liquids from mixing with the coal ash and releasing toxic chemicals into
Environmental Council, environmental nonprofit, said leaving the ash in
place will allow for pollution to continue.
“That is wholly
unacceptable and any outcome other than removal is just absurd on the face
of it,” said Tim Maloney, senior policy director at the Hoosier
Obama’s administration implemented a law in 2015 that instructed utilities
to close ash ponds that are a known source of contamination or are within
five feet of groundwater by April 2019.
Trump’s administration amended the rule to extend the deadline for some coal
plant owners to October 2020.