Oil & Gas Publishers Note: This story from CBS is an excellent example of bad business practices that give the energy sector a bad name. The energy, and oil & gas producers have enough problems improving their practices to help improve investor and public opinion of their firms.

The AES power plant in Puerto Rico generates 300,000 tons of coal ash, the toxic byproduct of coal burned to generate electricity, each year. The residents of the island, understandably, don’t want to be near the toxic elements, so they passed a law “to prohibit the deposit and disposal of coal ashes or coal combustion residues in Puerto Rico.”

In addition, the law prevents the ash from being stored on the island for more than 180 days.

So where does the coal ash go? A lot of it — tens of thousands of tons — makes its way to the mainland U.S.

CBS News tracked one cargo ship, the Mississippi Enterprise, as it was hauling coal  ash into Jacksonville, Florida. From there, the ash is taken to Chesser Island landfill in Folkston, Georgia, as reported by local Puerto Rican journalist Abner Dennis and Omar Alfonso.

Lawyer and activist Ruth Santiago, who has been battling AES to provide better safeguards in disposing the coal ash, warned communities in Florida and elsewhere where the ash was being disposed: “They should not allow the import of the toxic coal ash to their communities.”

Santiago claimed that people in the community of Miramar in Guayama, Puerto Rico, have been adversely affected by exposure to the ash, as well as those in other communities surrounding the plant.

Read the rest of the story, it is worth your time. 


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