Dominion releases 2018 Virginia Coal Ash Report

environment climate changeDominion Energy has released a coal ash report on the feasibility and cost of recycling the toxic coal plant byproduct. The report comes in the wake of coal ash disasters in neighboring North Carolina caused by Hurricane Florence, where massive amounts of coal ash pollutants were discharged into rivers and groundwater.

As part of this year’s Senate Bill 807, which extends the moratorium on the permanent closure of coal ash ponds in favor of exploring the option of resolving the coal ash problem through recycling, Dominion submitted the results of various coal ash recycling proposals to Gov. Northam and the General Assembly.

This report follows the utility’s 2017 coal ash report which confirmed that many of Dominion’s coal plants in Virginia are leaking heavy metals and carcinogens into groundwater. That report also concluded that Dominion’s favored method – leaving the waste on site, often in unlined pits, under a cap – was the most cost-effective strategy, while costs for cleaner closure methods were inflated. The report released today confirms that Dominion’s 2017 cost estimates for recycling were vastly overinflated.  The report demonstrates real market demand for coal ash by recyclers, at a lower price point.

In response, Kate Addleson, Director of the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, released the following statement:

“Businesses are chomping at the bit for the opportunity to recycle Dominion’s coal ash, and the General Assembly should require this cost-effective solution.”

“Unsurprisingly, Dominion’s stance towards coal ash continues to put profit over people. The corporation is disregarding the safety of Virginians by diminishing the opportunities presented by recycling, the most cost-effective way to protect our communities. ”

“The consequences of coal ash are only going to get worse as we face an uptick in extreme weather events exacerbated by climate-changing fossil fuel fired plants. Each extreme weather event brings new threats to coal ash impoundments across Virginia. By continuing to lobby for cap in place, Dominion is betting the safety of Virginians on luck instead of exploring market-ready recycling options by cleaning up its coal ash problem.”

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