Coal combustion waste, or coal ash, is the material that remains after coal is burned. Coal ash may contain heavy metals, radioactive elements, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and particulate matter, all of which contribute to public health and environmental problems. Alaska currently has six coal-fired power plants, all located between Healy and Fairbanks in Alaska’s Interior. Coal ash from these facilities is used as fill in local areas, including public spaces, university grounds and residential neighborhoods, which may pose a health hazard to nearby communities. Improper disposal of this waste in holding ponds or landfill sites may also result in hazardous exposures.
CHE-Alaska hosted a discussion of the dangerous chemicals in coal ash, how these chemicals may affect our health, air, water and food, and how you can help to protect Alaskans from the health hazards of coal ash.
Barb Gottlieb, Deputy Director, Environment & Health, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Lisa N. Widawsky, Attorney, Environmental Integrity Project
Russ Maddox, Board member of Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance and Executive Committee member of the Alaska Chapter of the Sierra Club.