In the last couple years, since President Trump took office, there’s been a lot of talk about coal and coal plants in America. While Trump was campaigning, he often made pledges to revive the coal industry in America. However, while he’s stuck up for the coal industry, the coal industry isn’t exactly sticking up for the environment.
That’s because a new analysis, reported by The Guardian, found that most of America’s coal plants are contaminating local groundwater. According to The Guardian:
Of the 265 US power plants that monitor groundwater, 242 have reported unsafe levels of at least one pollutant derived from coal ash, which is the remnants of coal after it is burned for energy. More than half such facilities report unsafe levels of arsenic, a carcinogen linked to multiple types of cancer, with 60% finding elevated lithium, which is associated with neurological damage.
In all, nine out of every 10 coal plants with reportable data have tainted nearby groundwater with at least one coal ash pollutant, with a majority having unsafe levels of at least four different toxins.
“The pollution is basically everywhere you look,” said Abel Russ, attorney at the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), which compiled the analysis based on reports issued by individual power plants. “The major concern is that this could be a problem for decades or centuries because once the pollutants leach from the coal ash into the water, they are hard to get out.”
The coal plants included in the analysis represent roughly three-quarters of all coal facilities in the US, with the remainder either having shut down their coal ash dumps or been exempted from reporting requirements.
Read the full story on The Guardian.
Meanwhile, read more of the latest conservation news below, and subscribe to receive the top news delivered straight to your inbox.
- Europe’s forests threatened by biodiversity collapse, warn campaigners (The Guardian)
- Is the fight against ocean plastic distracting us from bigger, deadlier problems? (Fast Company)
- Climate change is depleting our essential fisheries (National Geographic)