INSTITUTE INDEX: Coal ash hazards still loom

Number of years since a surface impoundment collapsed at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston coal-fired power plant in eastern Tennessee: almost 2.5

Estimated number of gallons of coal ash sludge laden with toxic heavy metals, combustion byproducts and radioactive elements that washed into a neighborhood and two nearby rivers as a result: 1.1 billion

Number of locations across the U.S. where environmental contamination from coal ash disposal has been documented: 137

Number of years since the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first federal standards for coal ash disposal: over 1

Number of federal coal ash standards approved to date: 0

Date on which EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that her agency wouldn't issue coal ash standards this year because of the volume of public comments submitted: 3/3/2011

Number of comments the EPA received on the matter: over 450,000

Number of children who live near U.S. coal ash sites: 1.5 million

Date on which the EPA released its latest assessments of the structural integrity of coal ash dams: 5/17/2011

Total number of coal ash dams the EPA has identified to date: 676

Number that EPA contractors have inspected: 228

Of those inspected, number that got a "poor" rating, meaning they need repair or further testing, or lack proper engineering documentation: 55

Of the poor-rated dams, number also deemed high-hazard, where a breach would likely kill people: 9

Number of inspected dams found to be significant hazards, where a breach would cause substantial economic and environmental harm: 39

Number of states that have poor-rated coal ash dams: 10

Number of poor-rated dams in North Carolina: 6

In both Alabama and Texas: 3

In both Georgia and Virginia: 1

Amount that electric utilities, which have been fighting strict federal coal ash rules, spent on federal lobbying efforts in 2010 alone: $191,994,085

Electric utilities' rank among all industries in terms of lobbying expenditures: 2

(Click on figure to go to source.)