Long-anticipated regulations regarding the disposal of coal ash — a toxic byproduct containing hazardous materials such as arsenic and lead — are due to be released Friday by the U.S. government.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed to the Friday deadline as part of the settlement of a lawsuit filed by environmental groups. The agency had first proposed rules governing the storage of waste material created through the burning of coal in 2010 in the wake of a massive spill at a ruptured holding pond in Tennessee. But regulations were never finalized, prompting activists to sue in 2012 for rules to finally be put in place.
Environmental groups say tighter standards are needed to ensure against a repeat of incidents like the Tennessee spill, that cost more than $1 billion to clean up, and a similar spill earlier this year that polluted the Dan River in North Carolina.