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Dangerous coal ash in our back yard

As the state and our country move away from fossil fuels, the legacy of coal ash contamination of groundwater with toxic chemicals is something Hoosiers will have to deal with for years to come. It is not just a problem that the communities in Indiana that still burn coal will feel, it is everywhere that coal combustion residuals (CCR) are buried. That includes Floyd County’s own back yard at the Gallagher power plant.

The Gallagher plant may be planning on shutting down in 2022, but the coal ash will remain behind if the company is allowed to just “cap in place” the ash instead of removing it as was done in other states when it was known to contaminate the groundwater. Cap in place has been called “cap and run” by environmental groups because it leaves the dangerous ash in contact with the groundwater below as it is at Gallagher. This can result in the water being unhealthy for drinking, swimming or fishing in as it mixes with the Ohio River and other aquifers that can be tapped by wells.

If this concerns you, there are two bills in the Indiana Legislature that try to address this problem that you can support. They are Senate Bill 367 and House Bill 1469. Call your legislators and tell them you don’t want our community to suffer from the problems caused by leaving the coal ash in the ground in contact with our water. For more information about the problems of coal ash in Indiana, you should visit the Hoosier Environmental Council website at

Brian and Tamela Brewer, New Albany

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