Now listen to part of a lecture on the topic you just read about.
There should definitely be stricter rules adopted for handling and disposing of coal ash.
First, the regulations we have now, for example those that require companies to use liner, are not really sufficient.
Under the current regulations, liner has to be used only when a company builds a new landfill or a new pond.
But companies are not required to add liner to old ponds and landfills.
Yet several of those older disposal sites have caused significant damage—for example, the harmful chemicals from coal ash leaked into groundwater and contaminated drinking water.
We absolutely need stricter new regulations that will prevent environmental damage at all coal ash disposal sites—the new sites as well as the old ones.
Second, stricter rules for handling coal ash won’t necessarily mean that consumers will stop using recycled coal ash products.
Let’s look at how people responded to strict regulations for other dangerous materials.
Take mercury, for example.
Mercury is a fairly hazardous material, and it’s been subject to very strict handling and storage rules for a long time.
Yet despite those rules, it’s been successfully and safely recycled for over 50 years and consumers have had very few concerns about it!
So it’s unlikely that consumers will become afraid to buy recycled coal ash products if stricter regulations are adopted.
Third, it’s true that the cost of coal ash storage and handling will increase.
But in this case, the result is well worth the extra cost.
According to analysts, the cost to the power companies of implementing these rules would be about $15 billion.
That sounds like a lot, but when you actually do the math, it would increase the average consumer’s household electricity bill by only about one percent!
That’s not a big price to pay for having a cleaner environment.