Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bluff Collapses Into Lake Michigan At We Energies' WI Plant

Nov 1: A detailed article in the Milwaukee Journal (MJ) reports, "A large section of bluff collapsed Monday next to the We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant, sending dirt, coal ash and mud cascading into the shoreline next to Lake Michigan and dumping a pickup truck, dredging equipment, soil and other debris into the lake. There were no injuries, and the incident did not affect power output from the plant." MJ reported that, We Energies spokesman Barry McNulty said, "Based on our land use records it is probable that some of the material that washed into the lake is coal ash. We believe that was something that was used to fill the ravine area in that site during the 1950s. That's a practice that was discontinued several decades ago." We Energies confirmed later in the day that the coal ash was likely in the debris.
    Sierra Club issued a release saying, "A partial retaining bluff collapse Monday at the We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant in Wisconsin sent toxic coal ash spewing into Lake Michigan. This collapse comes just weeks after the U.S. House voted to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from protecting Americans from coal ash" [i.e. the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R.2273)] [See WIMS 10/14/11]. A similar bill, S.1751 is now before the Senate for consideration.
    Sierra Club said, "We want to thank the first responders, cleanup and safety workers for their courage in helping to clean up this mess. We are very grateful that no one appears to have been injured. Unfortunately, residents of Southeast Wisconsin have been victims of We Energies negligence for years. The burning of coal is a public health menace. This incident underscores that as long as we are still mining and burning coal someone somewhere is paying the price."
    Access the MJ article with picture (click here). Access the Sierra Club release (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.2273 (click here). Access legislative details for S.1751 (click here). [*Energy/Coal, *Solid, *Haz]