New Environmental Report Accuses Coal Plants of Poisoning Water; - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

New Environmental Report Accuses Coal Plants of Poisoning Water; Industry Says, Not So

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The coal industry is poisoning the water.  That's according to a new report released today by environmental groups.  

  In reviewing water permits for 386 coal plants nationwide, they conclude of the 274 coal plants discharging coal ash and scrubber wastewater into waterways nationwide, six are in North Dakota. 

According to the report, all six in-state coal plants have no limits on the amounts of toxic metals such as arsenic and mercury allowed into public waters.  They say only one of the six reports to federal authorities how much arsenic, boron, cadmium, mercury, and selenium it is discharging.  

In April, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first ever national standards for toxins dumped into waterways from coal plants.  "We really need to set standards we know will curtail the problem.  Mercury, for instance, every water way in North Dakota has a warning posted," says Wayde Schafer, Sierra Club, Bismarck.

However, Mary Miller, Communications Manager for Basin Electric says, "we recently renewed all our permits.  We monitor our water very closely.  We do testing, and at first glance, the pollutants cited in this report, in looking at those, they're virtually undetectable levels in our monitoring."

The new report also accuses the Obama Administration of caving to industry pressure by weakening draft guidelines prepared by the EPA.


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