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Tuesday
Mar062018

Trump EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt weakens federal regulations on radioactive coal ash disposal

As reported by Democracy Now!:

In environmental news, President Trump has nominated Dow Chemical lawyer Peter Wright to head up an Environmental Protection Agency unit tasked with overseeing the disposal of hazardous waste and chemical spills at toxic Superfund sites. Meanwhile, new data says coal ash—the residual byproduct of burning coal—has contaminated groundwater with arsenic and radium and other toxic chemicals near coal-fired power plants across the country. The new data was released on Friday, only one day after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said the EPA would weaken federal regulations on coal ash disposal. (emphasis added)

Fossil fuels, including coal, natural gas, and oil, contain naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM). When mined/drilled and then combusted, this NORM becomes TENORM--Technically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials. Decay products of uranium, including radium, are hazardous. They are artificially released from extraction and burning, to harm humans and other life forms downwind and downstream, up the food chain (through bio-accumulation), and down the generations (many radionuclides have a long hazardous persistance).