Category Archives: Coal and Water

Items on the various connections between water resources and the mining and use of coal.

Proposed Settlement Announced Sep. 30, 2016, for Alleged Southern Coal Corp. Water Pollution Violations at Operations in Virginia and Five Other Appalachian States

On September 30, 2016, the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed consent agreement for a lawsuit against the Southern Coal Corporation (headquartered in Roanoke, Va.) and 26 affiliated companies over alleged water pollution violations between 2009 and 2014 at company mining operations in Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.  Under the proposed settlement, the company would pay a $900,000 civil penalty and implement several measures to ensure better compliance with permits under the Clean Water Act and state laws.  The proposed settlement will undergo a 30-day public-comment period starting on October 7, 2016.  EPA information on the proposed settlement is available online at

Southern Coal Corporation to Make System-Wide Upgrades to Reduce Water Pollution from Mining Operations in Appalachia, U.S. EPA News Release, 9/30/16.

Justice coal operations agree to $900,000 civil penalty to settle environmental lawsuit, Roanoke Times, 10/4/16.

Clean Power Plan Lawsuit Against U.S. EPA Overview and Information Sources – Full Court of Appeals Hears Oral Arguments on September 27, 2016; Supreme Court on Feb. 9, 2016, Granted Stay of Regulation Implementation While Litigation Proceeds

Here’s an overview, as of Sept. 28, 2016, of some developments in the federal lawsuit by 27 states over the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan for regulating carbon emissions from power plants.  The Clean Power Plan, formally known as “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units,” was published in the Federal Register on October 23, 2015.  The case is State of West Virginia et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency et al. in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Developments (starting with oldest)

On November 4, 2015, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced that Virginia would be part of a coalition of 14 states plus several localities seeking to intervene to support the U.S. EPA in the lawsuit.

On February 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of EPA’s implementation of the regulation until the lawsuit has run its course. The stay will remain is effect while the case returns to the D.C. Appeals Court to hear the merits of the lawsuit and for any appeals of that court’s eventual ruling.  That court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in June 2016.  Responding to the stay, Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a February 10 news release that “we will stay on course and continue to develop the elements for a Virginia plan to reduce carbon emissions and stimulate our clean energy economy.”

On May 16, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided that the full court will hear the case, rather than a three-judge panel.  Previously, the smaller panel had been scheduled to hear the case on June 2, 2016.

On September 27, 2016, for about seven hours, the D.C. Appeals Court heard oral arguments in the case.  The court’s 10 active judges were present; Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland recused himself from the case.  According to the CNN account of the hearings (Appeals court hears high-stakes challenge to Obama’s clean power plan, CNN, 9/27/16), “[d]ozens of lawyers from the government, industry, and public interest groups packed” the courtroom.  For more on the day’s arguments, see E&E Publishing’s “Clean Power Plan Hub,” online at

Sources and ongoing list of news articles related to the lawsuit:

Appeals court hears high-stakes challenge to Obama’s clean power plan, CNN, 9/27/16.

Invoking Scalia, judges question whether EPA bent the law, Greenwire, 9/27/16.

D.C. federal appeals court hears oral arguments on controversial Clean Power Plan, West Virginia Metro News Network, 9/27/16.

The full appeals court in Washington has elected to hear arguments in the legal fight over President Barack Obama’s plan to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, potentially accelerating the case’s path to the Supreme Court – Associated Press, as published by U.S. News & World Report, 5/16/16

Dominion goes to bat for Clean Power Plan, Daily Press, 4/4/16 [“Dominion Power filed an amicus brief Friday [4/1/16] in the national lawsuit against the federal Clean Power Plan, pushing back against arguments plan critics have made in an effort to derail new carbon rules.  The company didn’t lay out a firm yes-or-no position on the plan itself, which will likely be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.  But the brief puts the weight of Virginia’s energy giant behind key aspects of the plan to cap carbon production at utility plants.”]

Herring joins coalition to curb climate change, Augusta Free Press, 3/29/16

[Virginia] Chamber of Commerce joins suit against EPA rules, WRIC-TV Richmond, 2/28/16.

EPA Chief: Clean Power Plan to Win on Merits, Power Magazine, 2/25/16.

Clean Power Plan: Challengers question EPA’s authority, rulemaking process in briefs, E&E Publishing EnergyWire, 2/22/16 [challengers to the Clean Power Plan filed briefs with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on 2/19/16].

Clean Power Plan: ‘Heads are still spinning’ after Scalia’s death, SCOTUS ruling, E&E Publishing ClimateWire, 2/16/16.

States Evaluating Options Following CPP Stay, RTO Insider, 2/14/16.

Some States Forging Ahead With Emissions Reduction Plans Despite Supreme Court Ruling, Insideclimate News, 2/12/16.

Governor McAuliffe Statement on U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision to Stay the Clean Power Plan, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 2/10/16.

Will a surprising Supreme Court move shake the Paris climate accord?” – PBS NewsHour (6 min./16 sec. video), 2/10/16.

Supreme Court puts the brakes on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, Washington Post, 2/9/16.

Virginia Joins Multi-State Coalition Supporting Economic, Environmental, and Health Benefits of Clean Air
, Virginia Attorney General’s Office News Release, 11/4/15.

E&E News, “Clean Power Plan Hub – Legal Challenges and Documents,” online at, accessed 11/9/15.

For more information on the Clean Power Plan
E&E News “Clean Power Plan Hub,” online at

U.S. EPA, “Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants,” online at

Virginia Water Central News Grouper post, Final Version of “Clean Power Plan” Announced by President Obama and the U.S. EPA on August 3, 2015; Carbon Emissions from Existing Power Plants to be Reduced by 32% Nationwide; States Have Individually Set Reduction Targets, 8/3/15.

Hurricane Creek Coal-waste “Gob” Pile in Russell County, Va., Nearing Clean-up as of August 2016

On August 30, 2016, Dominion Virginia Power reported the approaching finish of a two-year project to clean up a 12-acre, 1-million-ton pile of coal waste—known as a “gob” pile, for “garbage of bituminous”—beside Dumps Creek (a Clinch River tributary) near the Russell County, Va., town of Carbo.  Known as the Hurricane Creek gob pile, the site was used for disposal of gob—coal containing too much rock or dirt to be usable—from a Clinchfield Coal Company mine first opened in 1907.  In announcing the start of the clean-up in 2014, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy called the site the “single worst mine-related impact to water quality in the Clinch River.”  According to Dominion, clean-up of the site became economically feasible after Dominion’s Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center opened in St. Paul, Va. (Wise County), because the facility was able to use about 500,000 tons of the waste for generating electricity.  After removal of the coal waste, the site is to be planted with grass and hardwood trees.  The clean-up project has been managed by Gobco, LLC, of Abingdon, Va.

Burning Waste Coal to Restore the Land, Bacon’s Rebellion, 8/30/16.
Dominion Powers Removal of Largest Pollution Source of Clinch River, Dominion Virginia Power News Release, 8/30/16.
Worst Mine Related Impact to Clinch to be Removed in Russell County, Virginia; Hurricane Fork Gob Pile To Be Removed And Burned At Nearby Power Plant, Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy News Release, 12/7/14.

Elkins Branch Landslide Mining Reclamation Project in Buchanan County, Va., Receives $400,000 Grant in June 2016

On June 3, 2016, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) announced that is will receive a $400,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to help stabilize a surface-mining-related landslide in the Elkins Branch area of Buchanan County.  The approximately 15-acre slide area resulting from mining prior to 1977, prior to passage of the federal Surface Mining and Reclamation Act.  This resulted in the area becoming an “abandoned mine land” (AML) area.  DMME states that the total Elkins Branch reclamation project—including the stabilization, removing the displaced slide material (which is partially blocking Elkins Branch), installing erosion and sediment controls, and revegetating the area—is expected to cost about $2 million and will be one of the largest ever undertaken during the 38 years of Virginia’s AML reclamation program.

State grant to aid in landslide cleanup, Bristol Herald Courier, 6/5/16.

“Water Quality Improvement Grant to help Stabilize Dangerous Landslide in Buchanan County caused by Historic Coal Mining,” Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy News Release, 6/3/16, online (as PDF) at

“Public Notice of Intent to Enter to Conduct Reclamation Activities (Abandoned Mine Land Program) in the Matter of: Elkins Branch Landslide Project,” Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy Public Notice, 7/16/15, online (as PDF) at

Virginia Tech Plans by 2020 to Replace Coal with Natural Gas for Blacksburg Campus Steam Heat and Electricity Co-generation

Lower natural gas prices and a carbon-emissions-reduction goal were the reasons cited when Virginia Tech announced in mid-June 2016 that it plans by 2020 to stop burning coal for steam heat and electricity at its main campus in Blacksburg, instead burning only natural gas.  Currently the university uses both fuels.  After 2020, coal would continue as a “backup fuel for the foreseeable future,” according to Laura Neff-Henderson of Tech’s University Relations Division.  Ms. Neff-Henderson stated that the conversion to natural gas only is expected to save about $1 million annually from an annual cost currently of between $6 million and $7 million.  The conversion is also part of the university’s efforts to reduce its carbon emissions by 2050 to 80 percent of the levels emitted in 1990, a goal set in a climate action plan that the university approved in 2009 and reaffirmed in 2013 (more information about that plan is available online at

Source: Virginia Tech plans greater use of natural gas, Roanoke Times, 6/19/16.

Carbon Capture and Storage at Coal-fired Boundary Dam Power Station in Canada Reviewed in Mar. 29, 2016, New York Times Article

Technology to Make Clean Energy From Coal Is Stumbling in Practice,” by Ian Austen in The New York Times, 3/29/16, reports on the progress and setbacks so far of implementing carbon capture and storage at the Boundary Dam Power Station in Saskatchewan, Canada.  Owned by SaskPower, the Boundary Dam station was the first commercial-scale attempt at carbon capture and storage when the station opened in 2014, according to the Times article.

Information from SaskPower on the Boundary Dam carbon capture project is available online at

Closure of Coal Ash Ponds at Dominion and APCO Power Stations in Virginia; State Water Control Board on Jan. 14, 2016, Approves Dominion Proposal for Drainage into Quantico Creek and James River; Board Decision Challenged in Court; Two Settlements Announced in Early March 2016; Maryland Drops Appeal of Permit in June 2016; Wastewater Permit for Chesterfield Power Station Approved by State Water Control Board in September 2016; Lawsuit Over Chesapeake Energy Center to Trial June 21-24, 2016, with Decision Expected within Weeks; APCO Clinch River Station Plans Discussed in Public Meeting in April 2016

For a related Water Central News Grouper post, please see Coal Ash Storage Regulation Published by U.S. EPA in Federal Register on Apr. 17, 2015; Dominion to Close Ash Ponds at Four Virginia Power Stations Within Three Years, posted 4/22/15.


In 2015-16, considerable debate and controversy resulted from Dominion Virginia Power’s plans for handling coal ash and wastewater as part of a mandated closing of coal-ash ponds at several electric-power stations.  The closure plans involved ash-storage ponds at Dominion’s 11 coal ash ponds at Possum Point, Bremo Bluff, the Chesterfield Power Station in Chesterfield County, and the Chesapeake Energy Center in the City of Chesapeake.  According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for a November 18, 2015, Va. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public meeting on Dominion’s closure plans (online at, the closure of the coal ash ponds is “pursuant to a 2015 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) final Rule that regulates the disposal of coal-combustion residuals.”  EPA information on the coal-ash regulation, which was published in the Federal Register on April 17, 2015, is available online at

On the day that the regulation was published, Dominion announced that it would comply with the new regulation by closing—within three years—coal-ash ponds at the four Virginia electric-power stations.

(A similar process will take place in North Carolina, where Duke Energy’s Dan River Combined Cycle facility at Eden was the site of a coal-ash storage pond spill in February 2014 that contaminated the Dan River in North Carolina and Virginia.  As of late August 2016, Duke Energy was applying to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources for permits from North Carolina for discharge into the Dan River of wastewater from the Eden storage areas, which are being removed.  Source: 100 trains of coal ash removed from site, Danville Register & Bee, 8/31/16.)

Bremo Bluff and Possum Point station developments: Dominion’s application for permits to discharge coal-ash pond water from the Possum Point Power Station into Quantico Creek in Prince William County, and from the Bremo Bluff Power Station into the James River in Fluvanna County, was approved by the Virginia State Water Control Board (SWCB) on January 14, 2016.  The proposed action had generated a large number of public comments, and a number of opposing citizens or groups were present at the Jan. 14 SWCB meeting.  On February 1, 2016, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) announced that, acting on behalf of the Potomac Riverkeeper Network, it would challenge in Richmond Circuit Court the SWCB decision on Quantico Creek.  On February 10, 2016, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors voted to join the legal challenge to the planned discharge into Quantico Creek, and in mid-February Maryland Gov. Lawrence Hogan notified Virginia that Maryland also intends to appeal the permit for discharge into Quantico Creek.  Also on February 10, the James River Association announced that it intended to challenge the agency decision in court over the planned discharge into the James River.  On March 8, Prince William County announced a settlement with Dominion, but the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of Potomac RiverKeeper, and Maryland Secretary for the Environment Ben Grumbles both said that they intend at this point to continue litigation over the Possum Point Station permit.  On March 9, Dominion and the James River Association announced a settlement over the permit for wastewater discharge into the James from the Bremo Bluff Station.  Both settlements included pledges by Dominion to treat the wastewater from the coal ash lagoons to a higher degree than is required by the Virginia permits approved in January 2016.  On June 16, 2016, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office announced that the Maryland Department of the Environment was dropping its appeal of the permit Virginia issued in January 2016 for discharge into Quantico Creek.

Developments at Chesterfield Power Station: On June 6, 2016, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a draft permit for wastewater discharge associated with management of coal ash at Dominion’s Chesterfield Power Station on the James River in Chesterfield County.  The agency accepted public comments through July 21, 2016, and held public hearings on the draft wastewater-discharge and solid-waste permits in July.  In mid-September 2016, the James River Association reported testing that found arsenic and lead in groundwater near the Chesterfield Station.  On September 28, 2016, the SWCB approved the permit.  Sources: At Chesterfield coal ash hearing [on July 6, 2016], speakers call for stricter permit limits, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/6/16.  ‘Is everybody else wrong?’ In other states, coal ash being excavated to protect waterways, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/2/16.  DEQ issues draft permit for coal ash water drainage in Chesterfield, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/6/16.  River advocates find high levels of metal in water near Chesterfield power plant, WWBT-TV Richmond, 9/14/16.  Under pressure, Dominion Virginia Power seeks to quell environmental concerns, Chesterfield Observer, 9/21/16.  Water Control Board to decide on Dominion draining coal ash ponds in Chesterfield on Thursday, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/21/16.  State board approves coal-ash wastewater permit for Chesterfield Power Station over objections of environmental groups, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/22/16.  Regulators Grant Water Permit for Chesterfield Power Station, Bacon’s Rebellion, 9/22/16.  State grants coal ash disposal permit to Dominion, Chesterfield Observer, 9/28/16.  At Virginia power plant [in Chesterfield County], hot water as much a concern as contaminants, Bay Journal, 10/2/16.

Developments at Chesapeake Energy Station: On November 6, 2015, U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson denied Dominion’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed in March 2015 in U.S. District Court by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Sierra Club, alleging that coal-ash ponds at Dominion’s closed power station at the Chesapeake Energy Center are contaminating groundwater connected to the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River.  The trial began in Richmond on June 21, 2016, and ended on June 24, with presiding U.S. District Judge John Gibney, Jr., expected to issue a decision within a few weeks; post-trial briefs are due by the end of July, according to July 2, 2016, Richmond Times-Dispatch article.  According to several news articles, one of the key questions being considered by Judge Gibney—one that might have implications beyond this case—is whether or not the federal Clean Water Act is violated by arsenic from the site reaching groundwater and ultimately the Elizabeth River.  Meanwhile, the DEQ held a public hearing on July 7, 2016, on a draft Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit for release of industrial wastewater and stormwater from coal ash storage ponds at the Chesapeake station.  Sources: “Final Rule: Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities,” U.S. EPA, 4/17/15, online at; Dominion Virginia Power to close coal ash ponds in state, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/17/15.  Suit against Dominion over closed Chesapeake power plant can proceed, judge says, Virginian-Pilot, 11/9/15.  Federal coal ash lawsuit begins in Richmond today, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/21/16.  Suit over Chesapeake coal ash goes to trial Tuesday, Virginian-Pilot, 6/20/16.  Coal ash lawsuit could hinge on linking Elizabeth River arsenic to closed coal plant, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/21/16.  Arsenic levels near shuttered Chesapeake coal ash plant are focus of trial’s first day, Virginian-Pilot, 6/21/16.  Coal ash case opens; Sierra Club says move pollutants away from water, [Newport News] Daily Press, 6/21/16.  Threats from Chesapeake coal ash will rise with the sea, witness says on second day of trial, Virginian-Pilot, 6/22/16.  Dominion, Sierra Club go to court in Chesapeake coal ash contamination case, Utility Dive, 6/22/16.  Federal judge takes coal ash verdict under advisement, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/24/16.  As trial over coal ash lawsuit wanes, judge says potential cost of removing the ash worries him, Virginian-Pilot, 6/24/16.  Environmentalists, utilities eye Richmond coal ash trial, Associated Press, as published by Omaha World-Herald, 7/12/16.  Dominion coal ash suit could have nationwide disposal consequences, Utility Dive, 7/14/16.  Federal coal ash case could impact cleanups beyond Virginia, Bay Journal, 7/27/16.

For more information from the DEQ on the permit process for Dominion’s closure plans, contact the following Va. DEQ staff members:
For water permitting – Susan Mackert, 13901 Crown Court, Woodbridge, VA 22193, phone: (703) 583-3853, e-mail:;
For solid waste permitting – Justin Williams, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, Virginia 23218, phone: (804) 698-4185, e-mail:


Meanwhile, Appalachian Power Company (APCO, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, or AEP) was under the same EPA mandate regarding ash-storage ponds at its facilities.   According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice (online at for an April 20, 2016, DEQ public meeting on APCO’s Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permit re-issuance application for the Clinch River Plant in Russell County [near Carbo], the “proposed permit also will address wastewater discharges that result from the closure of coal ash management ponds.  The closure of these ponds was necessitated by the recent conversion of the plant to use natural gas as a fuel, and by final coal ash regulations that were approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2015.  The proposed permit covers the removal of treated water from the ponds to ensure that the water quality and aquatic resources of the river are protected.”  According to a May 4, 2016, Bristol Herald Courier report, the DEQ published a proposed draft permit on April 1, 2016, and was accepting public comments on the draft until May 19.  The State Water Control board is expected to decide on the proposed permit at its meeting on June 27-28, 2016.  The draft permit calls for APCO to remove 4.3 million gallons of wastewater from the 28-acre coal ash pond over about 24 days.  The wastewater is to be treated to remove toxic metals and then discharged into the Clinch River.


Following are ongoing lists of news item headlines (hyperlinked) regarding developments with APCO’s plans; followed by items regarding developments regarding Dominion’s plans; items are listed from newest to oldest.  These items are in addition to ones listed above as sources for summaries of developments.  All hyperlinks were function at the time they were added to this post, but they may not be functional at later dates.

APCO-related new items (list started 4/12/16)

Locals discuss dangers of coal ash water removal into Clinch River, Bristol Herald Courier, 5/4/16 [report on April 20, 2016, Va. Department of Environmental Quality public meeting in Lebanon, Va. (Russell County) on the proposed permit for APCO for discharging treated coal-ash wastewater from the Clinch River Plant].

Public expresses concerns at [April 20, 2016] DEQ meeting on coal ash water removal into Clinch River, Bristol Herald Courier, 4/21/16

Virginia DEQ to address public concerns at [April 20, 2016] meeting on coal ash removal from Clinch River plant, Bristol Herald Courier, 4/16/16.

Public meeting scheduled on removal of coal ash wastewater from Clinch River power plant, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 4/12/16.

DOMINION-related news items (list started 11/24/15)

Additional ground-water testing ordered at Va. power station, WTOP Radio – Washington, 10/17/16; Dominion required to conduct more tests at Possum Point Power Station site, Inside Nova, 10/16/16; and Virginia DEQ requests more groundwater monitoring for Possum Point coal ash ponds, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/3/16.  [In a September 1, 2016, letter, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality ordered Dominion to install nine additional groundwater-monitoring wells and sample the wells bi-weekly.  Dominion stated that it had already planned to install five additional wells.]

23 arrested outside Gov. McAuliffe’s mansion during protest, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/5/16; and Three-day picket [in Richmond] takes aim at McAuliffe’s record on pipelines, coal ash [and rising sea levels], Roanoke Times, 10/3/16.  [October 5, 2016, protest in Richmond over proposed natural gas pipelines, coal ash disposal, and sea-level rise.]

More well tests at Possum Point yield little clarity in controversy over coal ash, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/27/16; and Lack of federal guidance on hexavalent chromium ‘sowing confusion’, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/27/16 [both regarding well tests in June 2016 in Prince William County near Beaver Pond, where about 27.5 million gallons of water from a coal-ash pond at Dominion’s Possum Point Station was placed in 2015; the pond has since been drained.  The tests of one household’s property showed levels of heavy metals.]

Prince William County And Dominion Ensure Continued Effectiveness Of Water Treatment Process, statement by Prince William County, as published by Prince William Living, 8/4/16.

Health concerns around Dominion flyash permit, Village News [Chester, Va.], 7/13/16

Speakers at Chesapeake hearing assail Dominion’s coal-ash storage plan, Virginian-Pilot, 7/7/16.

A solution for coal ash?, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/6/16 [editorial mentioning process investigated by researchers at North Carolina A&T of mixing coal ash with polyurethane, making the ash usable in various products].

‘Is everybody else wrong?’ In other states, coal ash being excavated to protect waterways, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/2/16.

Dumfries effort to urge removal of Possum Point coal ash fails, Potomac Local, 6/23/16 [vote by Dumfries Town Council on June 21, 2016, not to send a resolution to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality demanding that Dominion remove coal ash from the Possum Point Power Station, rather than capping the material onsite].

Environmental group digs into Dominion’s coal ash, Chesterfield Observer, 6/22/16 [regarding water-quality monitoring in the James River near Dominion’s Chesterfield Power Station].

[Commentary]: Closing out coal at the Chesapeake Energy Center, Virginian-Pilot, 6/19/16 [statement by Pamela Faggert, the chief environmental officer and senior vice president of sustainability for Dominion Virginia Power, regarding Dominion’s plans for removing coal ash from the Chesapeake Energy Center, located on the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake, Va.].

Dominion assures draining of ash ponds will protect local waters, Bay Journal, 6/16/16 [long, detailed article on issues around permits for Dominion’s Possum Point and Bremo Bluff facilities].

Maryland Drops Coal Ash Appeal, Bacon’s Rebellion, 6/17/16; Maryland drops appeal of permit issued for Dominion coal-ash facility, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/16/16; and  Maryland quits fight against Dominion plan to dump coal-ash water into Potomac, Washington Post, 6/16/16 [all regarding the June 16, 2016, announcement by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office that the state was dropping its appeal of the permit issued by Virginia in January 2016 for discharge of coal ash wastewater from the Possum Point station into Quantico Creek (Prince William County), a Potomac River tributary].

Dominion reveals coal ash stored at Chesapeake is 3 times previous estimate, Utility Dive, 6/10/16; and Dominion’s coal ash stockpile in Chesapeake is more than three times previous estimate, Virginian-Pilot, 6/8/16 [In the lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club in March 2015 over alleged leaking of contaminants into the Elizabeth River from coal-storage ponds at the Chesapeake Energy Center, a document provided by Dominion in June 2016 indicated that over 3 million tons of coal ash are currently stored at the facility, rather than previously reported 1 million tons; the case is in U.S. District Court in Norfolk.  See also Sierra Club lawsuit over coal ash in Chesapeake moves forward, WAVY TV-Hampton Roads, 6/8/16 [case to court on 6/21/16; and Environmental groups sue Dominion Virginia for coal ash leaks, Utility Dive, 3/24/15].

Duke Univ. tests find leaching from coal ash sites, including 2 in Va., Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/10/16.  Excerpt: “Coal ash ponds at Dominion Virginia Power stations in Bremo Bluff and Chesterfield County are among 21 facilities in five states [Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia] leaching contaminants into surrounding water, in some cases in excess of federal standards for drinking water and aquatic life, according to a report by Duke University scientists published Friday [6/10/16] in [Environmental Science and Technology, published by the American Chemical Society].”  Duke Study Documents Coal Ash Leakage into Groundwater, Bacon’s Rebellion, 6/13/16 [this item includes a link to the study].

Water-safety testing levels at heart of coal ash dispute, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/8/16 [regarding findings of hexavalent chromium in wells near the Possum Point and Bremo Bluff power stations’ coal-ash storage facilities; the article discusses the levels detected in this and other instances, compared to regulatory levels].

What’s In Your Water?, Prince William Times, 6/8/16 [regarding well tests near the Possum Point Power Station coal-ash storage ponds].

Dominion Virginia Power Says River Protections Are Working, WCVE Richmond, 6/8/16 [40 second audio].

DEQ issues draft permit for coal ash water drainage in Chesterfield, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/6/16.

Dominion wants to permanently store a million tons of coal ash in Chesapeake. Can it be done safely?, Virginian-Pilot, 6/3/16.

Meeting with Dominion “positive,” citizens say, Chesterfield Observer, 5/25/16 [citizen tour on May 19, 2916, of Dominion’s Dutch Gap Power Station in Chesterfield County].

Protesters speak up at the Dominion RiverRock Festival, WRIC TV – Richmond, 5/21/16.

Tests of private wells on Possum Point turn up toxins, Inside NoVa, 5/25/16.  Prince William to continue testing wells near coal ash ponds, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/20/16.  Next Front in the Coal Ash War: Groundwater Testing, Bacon’s Rebellion, 5/16/16.  Closing of coal ash ponds leaves residents worried about wells, WTOP Washington, 5/16/16.  As ash pond closures progress, concern mounts over well water, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/15/16 [regarding tests of six private wells on the Possum Point peninsula where Dominions’ Possum Point Power Station and coal-ash storage ponds are located].

Duke University takes samples in Fluvanna, Chesterfield for coal ash test, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/17/16.

Dominion set to begin releasing coal-ash water into Quantico Creek, Inside NoVa [Leesburg, Va.], 5/9/16.  [This article provides details on the treatment process Dominion will use.]

Draining of Northern Virginia coal ash lagoon to begin; Dominion Virginia Power notified state it plans to begin discharging into Potomac tributary on Monday [May 9, 2016], Bay Journal, 5/3/16.

Dominion releases test results from water at Bremo Power Station, Charlottesville Newsplex, 5/3/16.

Coal ash water treatment process “unprecedented”, Potomac Local, 5/3/16.

Bremo Power Plant opens doors to show water treatment facility, Charlottesville Newsplex, 4/27/16

Once in Four Lifetimes, Bacon’s Rebellion, 4/19/16.  [This article includes details on the permitting process and assumptions used by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality when assessing proposed permits for discharges of wastewater from coal-ash storage ponds.]

Dominion begins releasing coal ash wastewater into James River, WTVR TV-Richmond, 4/27/16; Protesters hold funeral for the James River, Newsplex, 4/27/16; Dominion Virginia Power begins discharging treated coal ash water into James River, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/27/16; and Treated Coal Ash Water Flows Today, Bacon’s Rebellion, 4/27/16 [all regarding the April 27, 2016, start of discharging coal-ash wastewater into the James River from Dominion’s Bremo Power Station in Fluvanna County].

Coal Ash Mishmash, Bacon’s Rebellion, 4/7/16.  [This article includes a map showing locations of Dominion Virginia Power’s coal-ash storage facilities.  Excerpt: “Dominion Virginia Power has settled disagreements with two foes over its plans to discharge coal ash wastewater from its Possum Point and Bremo power stations into Virginia’s rivers and streams, but the battle over coal ash disposal isn’t going away.  Not only are the state of Maryland and the Potomac Riverkeeper Network appealing the wastewater-discharge permit for Possum Point, but Dominion still must acquire solid-waste permits for both plants.  Also, within the next year or so, Dominion will file permit applications for its legacy coal ash ponds at Chesterfield Power Station, while Appalachian Power Co. plans to close and cap an ash pond at its Clinch River Power Station.  Determined to hold the power companies to the strictest standards possible, environmentalists have vowed to scrutinize each permit.”]
Chesterfield Power Station expected to burn coal for the foreseeable future, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/26/16.

DEQ host reconvened meeting about coal ash permits in Chesterfield, [Virginia Commonwealth University] Commonwealth Times, 3/22/16.

Editorial: It’s heartening that Dominion has reached deal with environmentalists over coal ash, [Newport News] Daily Press, 3/22/16.  [Like all editorials, this one has a particular point of view, but it provides a good, short introduction to the Dominion coal ash situation and recent events, as of mid-March 2016.]

After months of debate, board approves controversial landfill, Chesterfield Observer, 3/16/16 [Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors vote in March 2016 to approve landfill proposed by Dominion for coal ash at the Chesterfield Power Station].

Activists are teed off at Dominion’s gift to environmental official, Capital News Service, as published by WRIC TV Richmond, 3/23/16; Environmental official received gifts from Dominion, Capital News Service, as published by WRIC TV Richmond, 3/15/16; Chief of Virginia DEQ Attended Master’s Tournament on Dominion’s Dime, Style Weekly [Richmond], 3/15/16 [regarding payment of $2300 by Dominion Virginia Power for David Paylor to attend the tournament in Augusta, Ga., in April 2013].

Has Dominion’s Political Power Clouded The Fight Over Coal Ash?, WAMU Radio Washington, D.C., 3/14/16 – long article plus a 6 min./56 sec audio focusing particularly on perceptions of Dominion Virginia Power’s political influence in Virginia and on the role of Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in the permits for Dominion at the Possum Point and Bremo Bluff stations.  See also follow-up audio, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality on Coal Ash Permit Process, 3/22/16, 5 min./34 sec.

Riverkeepers, Dominion Spar Over Year-Old Release of Coal Ash Water, Bacon’s Rebellion, 3/25/16; Dumfries calls for coal ash probe, Inside NoVa, 3/23/16; and Virginia town asks EPA to investigate coal-ash lagoon draining, Bay Journal, 3/11/16.  [The Prince William County, Va., Town of Dumfries Council voted in early March to ask the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a criminal investigation into whether the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Dominion Virginia Power broke the law in allowing discharge of about 30 million gallons of wastewater into Quantico Creek in 2015 from the Possum Point Station, which is located near Dumfries.]

Outcry Prompts Dominion to Make Coal Ash Wastewater Cleaner, InsideClimate News, 3/10/16.

DEQ statement on settlement of lawsuits over coal ash discharge permits, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 3/10/16 [brief statement regarding both settlements announced on March 8 and March 9].

Virginia approves Dominion’s controversial coal ash landfill, Waste Dive, 3/17/16.

Possum Point Pact Reached, Prince William Times, 3/17/16.

Dominion Alters Plan to Discharge Coal Ash Water, Fluvanna Review, 3/15/16.

Dominion, James River Association agree to wastewater discharge plan, NBC12 Richmond, 3/9/16; Two groups settle appeals of Dominion’s coal-ash lagoon discharges, Bay Journal, 3/9/16; Dominion, James River Association Reach Understanding on Coal Ash, Bacon’s Rebellion, 3/9/16; Dominion and James River Association settle on plan for discharging treated coal ash wastewater, Virginia Business, 3/9/16 [on the settlement announced 3/9/16, between Dominion and the James River Association of the latter group’s challenge to the permit for discharging wastewater into the James River from the Bremo Bluff station].

Dominion Still Facing Opposition on Possum Point Coal Ash Plan, Bacon’s Rebellion, 3/10/16.

Md.’s environment secretary: Fight against Dominion’s coal-ash plan will continue, Washington Post, 3/9/16; Prince William supervisors settle with Dominion over coal-ash ponds, Inside NoVa, 3/8/16; Dominion [and] Prince William reach deal over Possum Point, Potomac Local, 3/8/16 [on the settlement announced 3/9/16 between Dominion and the Prince William County Board of Supervisors over the latter’s challenge to the permit for discharging wastewater into the Quantico Creek from the Possum Point station].

Angry over coal-ash water release, student activists occupy lobby of Va. regulator, Washington Post, 3/7/16

Governor McAuliffe supports Dominion’s wastewater plans, Style Weekly, 3/8/16

Water removal at Dominion coal ash ponds set to begin next month, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/8/16

17 coal ash protesters cited in DEQ lobby sit-in, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/7/16

Dominion coal ash wastewater debate centers on treatment, Associated Press, as published by Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/4/16.

As board weighs coal ash permit, citizens fight back, Chesterfield Observer, 3/2/16 [regarding coal ash at Chesterfield Power Station on the James River].

Q&A: What You Need to Know About Dominion’s Wastewater Plans for the James River, Style Weekly, 3/1/16.

Drinkable Water for Humans—or Fish?, Bacon’s Rebellion, 3/1/16 [an analysis of arguments made by parties appealing the SWCB’s approval of permits for Dominion to discharge treated water from the coal ash ponds into Quantico Creek and the James River].

River protection group challenges coal ash water discharge, Associated Press, as published by WTOP-Radio Washington, 2/27/16; and Group Challenging Decision to Allow Coal Waste in Va. Rivers, WVIR-TV Charlottesville, 2/26/16.

Virginia allows Dominion to exceed toxic limits for James River dumping, WWBT-TV Richmond, 2/25/16.

Dominion concedes, won’t import out-of-town coal ash, Chesterfield Observer, 2/24/16 [regarding application by Dominion to build a coal-ash landfill at its Chesterfield Power Station].

Maryland seeks review of Virginia decision on pollutants that could affect Potomac, Legal Newsline, 2/18/16.  Maryland challenges Dominion’s coal ash water disposal plan in Virginia, UtilityDive, 2/17/16.

Local group taps renowned professor in coal ash fight, Chesterfield Observer, 2/17/16.  [Dr. Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech professor whose work helped reveal lead in drinking water in Flint, Michigan, will help a Chesterfield Couny, Va., environmental group Hands Across the Lake assess lead levels in water collected from private property near Dominion Virginia Power’s Dutch Gap power plant.]

Oyster farmers hope to stop Dominion’s coal ash plan, WUSA-TV Washington, 2/17/16.

Maryland challenges Virginia on coal ash pond draining, Bay Journal, 2/16/16.

Maryland to fight Dominion plan to release coal-ash water into Va. creek, Washington Post, 2/15/16.

How Clean Is Clean Enough?, Bacon’s Rebellion, 2/12/16.

James River Association challenging Dominion Virginia Power coal ash permit, Associated Press, as published by Charlottesville Daily Progress, 2/11/16.

Environmental Group [James River Association] Challenges Discharge into James, Fluvanna Review, 2/11/16.

Battle rages on over treated coal plant water in waterways, WTOP Radio-Washington, 2/11/16.

Couple living near Bremo power plant speaks out about ash ponds, Newsplex, 2/11/16.

Permitted release of coal ash surface water continues at Possum Point, Potomac Local, 2/10/16.

Groups appeal Virginia coal ash pond draining, Bay Journal, 2/10/16 [Prince William County and the James River Association].

Report: Dominion dumped 33.7 million gallons of untreated coal ash water in Quantico Creek, Utility Dive, 2/10/16

Fluvanna Board of Supervisors host community meeting [on 2/10/16] about ash ponds [at Bremo Bluff], Newsplex, 2/11/16.

James River Association challenging Dominion Virginia Power coal ash permit, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/10/16.

Prince William to sue state over coal-ash permit, Inside NoVa, 2/10/16 [the Prince William County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Feb. 9 to appeal the SWCB decision].

Dominion released millions of gallons of coal-ash water, Inside NoVa, 2/8/16 [Virginia Dominion Power released 33.7 million gallons of untreated coal-ash water into Quantico Creek in spring 2015].

Community Meeting [on Feb. 6, 2016, in Fluvanna County, Va.] on Bremo Coal Ash Pond Dewatering Project, Newsplex, 2/5/16.

Dominion Prepares to Shut Down Coal Ash Ponds, Newsplex, 2/2/16.

Dominion under fire for coal ash disposal in county, state, Chesterfield Observer, 2/3/16.

Dominion coal ash plan to be challenged in court, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/2/16.

Court fight looms over Dominion plan to flush coal ash water, Inside NoVa, 2/1/16.

River-protection group legally challenging wastewater vote, Associated Press, as published by WTOP-Radio-Washington, 2/1/16.

Possum Point Power Station: [Prince William County, Va.] Board budgets for appeal, Prince William Times, 1/29/16.

Prince William hiring lawyer to fight Dominion coal-ash plan, Inside NoVa, 1/21/16 [regarding plan to discharge coal-ash pond water from Possum Point Station into Quantico Creek].

“Months not weeks” before Dominion drains coal ash ponds, and lawsuits likely, Bay Journal, 1/21/16 [“environmental groups and agencies that opposed the two permits granted by the State Water Control Board are planning to appeal within 30 days”].

Groups Opposing Decision Allowing Dominion to Dump Coal Ash, WVIR TV Charlottesville, 1/15/16.

State Board Gives Dominion OK to Drain Coal Ash Ponds into James [and] Potomac Rivers, Capital News Service, as published by Williamsburg Yorktown Daily, 1/17/16.

Va. board OKs permits for dewatering Va. Power’s coal ash ponds, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/14/16.

Despite Protests State OKs Drainage of Coal Ash Ponds, Woodbridge Patch, 1/15/16.

Toxic water to be treated [and] released into Potomac River, Potomac Local, 1/14/16.

Water Board Votes to Allow Release into James River, Fluvanna Review, 1/14/16.

Breaking: Dominion’s permit to drain coal ash ponds into local waters approved, Bay Journal, 1/14/16.
Dominion wants to drain coal ash ponds into local waterways, Bay Journal, 1/11/16.

Battle over Dominion coal-ash ponds heads to state water board this week, Washington Post, 1/10/16.

Swimmers, river advocates concerned over Dominion’s proposed dumping permit in James, WTVR TV, Richmond, 1/9/16.

Concern raised over Dominion’s proposal to release treated toxic coal ash in Quantico Creek, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 12/13/15.

Dominion wants to drain coal ash ponds into local waterways, Bay Journal, 12/11/15.

Toxic chemicals from power plant leak into Quantico Creek, Inside NoVa, 12/10/15.

Dominion seeks Virginia OK to dump water from coal ash sites, Associated Press, as published by Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 12/9/15.

Residents on Potomac River Coal Ash Plan: We weren’t notified, Potomac Local, 12/8/15.

River advocates wary of plan to dump water from coal ash ponds in James, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12/7/15.

Palmyra Hosting Public Hearing on James River Coal Ash Dumping, WVIR TV-Charlottesville, 12/1/15.

Treat and release: What Dominion wants to do with toxic water at Possum Point, Potomac Local, 11/29/15.

Lawmakers: Give the public more time to study coal-ash pond plan, Washington Post, 11/24/15.