A coalition of environmental groups today formally asked the Department of Homeland Security, the Army Corp of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency to make public the list of 44 "high hazard" coal ash disposal sites across the country. The Freedom of Information Act request was submitted by the Sierra Club, Earthjustice, the Environmental Integrity Project, and Natural Resources Defense Council after the EPA refused to disclose which of the hundreds of coal ash sites pose such a threat to nearby communities that they have been deemed by the Obama administration to be a national security risk.
"The Department of Homeland Security has designated 44 massive coal ash piles as 'high hazard' because they present a clear and present danger to the people living near them," said Bruce Nilles, Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. "People have a right to know if mountains of toxic coal ash are threatening their communities so they can take action and put pressure on their local utilities to demand clean up."
The EPA was instructed by the Department of Homeland Security not to release information about the location of high hazard dams containing coal ash. Unspecified national security concerns were cited as the reason for withholding this critical information from the public, even though the locations of other hazardous sites, such as nuclear plants are publicly available.