Virginia’s General Assembly delegated a report for Dominion Energy finding that it is easier and cheaper to close the largest coal ash ponds in the state simply by leaving them unmaintained with a cover put over top instead of properly treating the byproducts through containing material in synthetic lined landfills. Closing all the state ponds by removing and then properly recycling the material has been estimated would take about 40 years while costing around $3.5 billion. The ‘protective cap’ solution on the other hand is attractive to officials because it would take about 4 years and cost around $700 million. However, this state trend is nationwide. The report also mentions locations like Tennessee streams and the Duke Energy plant on North Carolina’s Dan River; both impacted by inadequately treated coal ash and waterways impacted by chemicals like arsenic. Dominion Power representatives have actually stated how many of their facilities are not required to meet the coal ash regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency which President Trump has decided to have directed by disingenuous appointee, Scott Pruitt. The question the article raised was cancer over costs and the necessity to maintain a stable groundwater monitoring network. These ash ponds must be taken care of properly despite the costs so that future generations aren’t gifted a more expensive, complex problem. To do that will require increased funding and true leadership at the Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Daniel