WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency is taking its first major action to address toxic wastewater from coal-burning power plants.
It's denying requests by three Midwest power plants to extend operations of leaking or otherwise dangerous coal ash storage ponds.
EPA says plants in Indiana, Ohio and Iowa will have to close coal ash ponds months or years ahead of schedule.
Coal ash is the substance that remains when coal is burned to generate electricity.
It can pollute waterways, poison wildlife and cause respiratory illness among those living near massive ponds where the waste is stored.
The action marks the first time the EPA has enforced a 2015 rule aimed at reducing groundwater pollution from coal-fired power plants.