Date/Time: Monday, February 1st, 6:30pm
Venue: Sun-Ray Cinema, 1028 Park St, Jacksonville, FL 32204
Tickets: Free, RSVP required
Coal ash, the toxic remains of coal burning in power plants, is a hazardous waste. The concentrated substance is a chemical mixture that can cause cancer, developmental disorders, and reproductive problems in humans. It poisons our water and kills fish and wildlife. Finding beneficial uses or proper methods for disposal has become increasingly difficult for coal fired power plants, raising concerns about how this toxic ash could contaminate nearby communities.
Most coal-fired power plants dispose of toxic coal ash on site in large landfills or even open water settling ponds. The substance can be processed with other chemicals to lessen its toxicity, allowing for safer disposal. However, the threat of a leak or a breach in the system is a reality we all face. In 2008, a dike ruptured at an 84-acre solid waste containment area at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston Fossil Plant in Tennessee. Over one billion gallons of coal fly ash slurry was released. In 2014, Duke Energy dumped nearly 39,000 tons of coal ash and 24 million gallons of wastewater into the Dan River near Eden, North Carolina. The plume traveled 70 miles downstream, where it settled on the riverbed.
The St. Johns River Power Park located off of Heckscher Drive on the northside of Jacksonville is jointly owned by JEA and Florida Power and Light. This coal fired power plant and the neighboring, solely JEA owned Northside Generating Station sells some of its ash as an aggregate in concrete as questionable reuse. The remainder of its ash is disposed of in on-site landfills, some with liners, some without.
Recently, the EPA has agreed to finalize the first-ever federal regulations for the disposal of coal ash. Communities across the United States are now looking to gain protection from coal ash pollution.
Imagine being afraid to drink your water, take a bath, fish, or farm. Toxic coal ash stored across Florida poses exactly these risks. Communities are successfully pushing for clean-up in other southeastern states and we’re hosting an event in Jacksonville to help with these efforts.
St. John’s Riverkeeper is partnering with Northeast Florida Sierra Club, Earthjustice, The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and Working Films to bring Coal Ash Stories, a documentary that highlights how coal ash is affecting people and communities, to Jacksonville. Four short films are focused on coal ash, public health concerns, related policy, and ways that communities are responding. A panel will follow the presentation that includes the filmmaker and local speakers. Come learn about the issues, talk with your neighbors, and find out how you can help protect your community. Register online for this free event at www.stjohnsriverkeeper.org.