EPA to Hold Coal-Ash Hearing in Denver

(Denver Business Journal 7-24-2010) Denver will be the site of one of five public hearings nationwide that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has scheduled on proposed rules for coal ash from power plants.
Coal ash, or "coal combustion residuals," is a solid waste material left over from the burning of coal to produce power. Utilities typically dispose of it in ponds or landfills. The EPA says the ash contains mercury, cadmium and arsenic — contaminants associated with cancer and other illnesses. The federal agency is concerned those pollutants could leach into groundwater and drinking-water sources. EPA is proposing to regulate coal ash for the first time.
Coal-fired power plants produce most of Colorado's electricity. Xcel Energy Inc. -- Colorado's largest power utility -- currently generates about 900 megawatts of power at its coal-fired plants in the state. It has plans to shut down some of the plants and to switch others to natural gas. A new state law requires utilities to sharply cut emissions from coal-fired power plants. In particular, Xcel must cut nitrous oxide emissions by up to 80 percent from several Front Range coal plants by the end of 2017.
The local EPA hearing will be held Sept. 2 at the Grand Hyatt, 1750 Welton St., Denver. All hearings start at 10 a.m. and run until 9 p.m. or later, depending on the number of speakers. The other hearing sites are Charlotte, N.C.; Dallas; Chicago;and Arlington, Va. Those who would like to speak are asked to pre-register, and a written statement is requested. Each speaker will be given three minutes.
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