Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Maryland, Virginia county fight release of 215 million gallons of coal-ash water into Va. creek

The state of Maryland and a Northern Virginia county are fighting a plan by Dominion Virginia Power to release about 215 million gallons of treated coal-ash water into Quantico Creek, a tributary that connects the states' shared Potomac River. (Tide-forecast map)

Last week the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and the James River Association joined the Potomac Riverkeeper Network in challenging the decision to discharge the water from the company’s coal-burning power plants, Whitney Pipkin reports for The Chesapeake Bay Journal. "The announcements came on the heels of news that even before the Virginia State Water Control Board approved those discharges last month, Dominion had drained nearly 34 million gallons of water last year from one of its impoundments into Quantico Creek."

On Monday "Maryland’s Department of the Environment joined its Department of Natural Resources in an appeal that makes official the concerns staff first raised in an eight-page letter to their counterparts at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in mid-January," Pipkin writes in a separate story. "Maryland formally notified Virginia of its intent to ask the Richmond Circuit Court to review the draining decision."

Antonio Olivo of The Washington Post reports that Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said in an email to the Post: “I am deeply concerned that untreated or improperly treated coal ash could be deposited in the Potomac River. Residents in the Washington region look to leaders in Virginia and Maryland to safeguard their natural resources, and the Potomac is a treasure that must be protected. Any plan to dump waste in the river needs heightened scrutiny and rigorous analysis.”

Dominion spokesman David Botkins dismissed Frosh's claims, responding in a statement: “I’m not sure what there is to appeal. We are cleaning up coal ash ponds and improving the environment, that’s what is important.”

No comments: