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Biden administration faces lawsuit over unregulated coal ash, including at Stanton

The cooling towers at the Stanton Energy Center, a coal-fired power plant, are seen behind a home in Orlando. Photo courtesy NPR
The cooling towers at the Stanton Energy Center, a coal-fired power plant, are seen behind a home in Orlando. Photo courtesy NPR

The Biden administration is facing litigation over a loophole that environmental and advocacy groups say leaves at least a half-billion tons of toxic coal ash unregulated. 

That includes coal ash at the Stanton Energy Center in Orlando. 

The loophole applies to sites like Stanton that closed before the Environmental Protection Agency adopted the first-ever regulations on coal ash in 2015. 


Related: In Orlando, a mountain of coal ash evades EPA rules. It’s not the only one.


The regulations addressed existing and new sites. Lisa Evans of Earthjustice, which filed the lawsuit, says many of the closed sites are in low-income communities and communities of color.   

“Those communities have less resources to pressure power plants to do the right thing, less resources to find out exactly what is happening with their groundwater and surface water.” 

Coal ash is the toxic waste that remains after coal is burned for electricity. The Orlando Utilities Commission, which oversees Stanton, says its coal ash is safe and managed to exceed regulations.

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s work has been heard on NPR and seen in PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, among many other publications. She began her career at The Associated Press in Nashville, Tenn. Amy grew up in Florida and lives in Orlando with her 7-year-old daughter.