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Tornadoes and Massive, Exposed Coal Ash Heaps Don't Mix

1 min. read

So, let's say you're planning a new coal-fired power plant, like the Prairie State Plant in Illinois. Now, let's say that coal-fired power plant is "projected to produce 3.6 million to 4.8 million tons of toxic ash, which must be disposed," and that this ash could "ultimately contain a 250-foot high pile of coal ash sitting on flat farmland." Finally, how about we throw tornadoes into the mix?

...see that red spot in Illinois, to the east and south of St. Louis, MO? According to the map, that red spot indicates the highest frequency of tornado incidence in the country. And the Prairie State ash heap – dry ash sprayed down with a veneer of water to limit dust – sits smack in the middle that red spot. Smack in the middle of tornado alley…

How will the EPA justify permitting an exposed ash heap after a tornado strikes, dispersing its toxic legacy across hundreds of acres of verdant farmlands?

So, perhaps we're missing something here, but to put it mildly, this doesn't sound like a wise plan to us. The bottom line is that coal-fired power plants' massive, exposed ash heaps are bad enough, but they certainly don't mix well with tornadoes.