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Prior to the fly ash sludge holding pond rupturing at the Kingston, Tn. steam plant on December 22, not many people even knew what fly ash was. In the aftermath of that disaster, news surfaced that the Tennessee Valley Authority’s inspectors had reported as early as March of last year that the same problem existed, and was ignored, at a similar plant in Alabama.

Yesterday, an article in the New York Times reported that, despite these holding ponds containing several types of heavy metals considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to be threats to human health and our nation’s water supply, they are not subject to any federal regulations:

“Your household garbage is managed much more consistently” than coal combustion waste, said Dr. Thomas A. Burke, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who testified on the health effects of coal ash before a Congressional subcommittee last year. “It’s such a large volume of waste, and it’s so essential to the country’s energy supply; it’s basically been a loophole in the country’s waste management strategy.”

If you have followed the last several entries that I have posted dealing with problems in the financial sector, the nursing home industry, the environment, children’s toys and the Michigan prison system, you have undoubtedly noticed a recurring theme – the lack of governmental regulation. The last eight years saw reams of good regulations repealed in the name of free enterprise. Consider also that these are the same folks who want to limit what you can recover in a lawsuit. If the state and federal governments and lawyers can not protect you, who will?

What do you think? Is there a better solution out there?

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