The US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) pending decision on regulating coal ash waste from power plants, expected this month, will be delayed for a short period due to the complexity of the analysis the agency is currently finishing. EPA administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, had set a deadline to complete the regulatory decision before the close of this year. However, the agency is still actively clarifying and refining parts of the proposal.
Coal ash is a by-product of the combustion of coal at power plants, which is collected and later disposed of on land. Coal ash was brought prominently to national attention in 2008 when an impoundment holding disposed ash waste generated by the Tennessee Valley Authority broke open, creating a massive spill in Kingston, Tennessee, that covered millions of cubic yards of land and river and is regarded as one of the worst environmental disasters of its kind in history. Shortly afterwards, the EPA began overseeing the cleanup, as well as investigating the structural integrity of impoundments where ash waste is stored.
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