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Two Years After the Largest Toxic Spill in the Nation's History, Where's the Regulation on Deadly Coal Ash Dumps?

EPA identified 431 containment units for coal slurry and has labeled 49 of them "high hazard"—meaning they pose a risk to human health and the environment.

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The public comment period on the two options for regulating the waste closed on November 19, and the EPA says it logged more than 400,000 comments on the rule. The agency has not offered a timeline for announcement of the final rule. Most observers aren't expecting it until the end of 2011 at the earliest—cold comfort to communities like Harriman that have millions of gallons of this stuff right in their backyards.

"Two years after the largest toxic spill in the nation's history, there is still no regulation of deadly coal ash dumps—nor is there clear direction from EPA on the timing or content of a final rule," said Lisa Evans, senior administrative counsel for Earthjustice. "For the communities enduring damage from aging ponds and leaking landfills, time has run out. There is no reason on earth that their health should be compromised by such an easily avoidable harm."

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