Excerpt from Toxic Trash Exposed: Coal Ash Pollution in Michigan
Executive Summary Water defines, and is central, to Michigan’s economy. Major tourism, agriculture, and fishing industries depend on the health of rivers, lakes, and streams. The Great Lakes contain over 20% of the world’s usable fresh surface water . Unfortunately unmitigated coal ash pollution is a major threat to the health of the state’s water and economy.
More than 1.7 million tons of coal ash, the toxic byproduct produced by coal-fired power plants, is generated every year in Michigan. Managing and storing this amount of waste safely is a challenge and presents health and environmental risks to Michigan’s communities. A lack of federal protections, weak state regulations, outdated and unregulated storage areas, and historic coal ash contamination sites threatens the state’s “Pure Michigan” heritage and the Great Lakes.