’60 Minutes’ Attacks Coal Ash (Again)

            Television news program 60 Minutes repeated a nearly year-old attack on coal ash August 15 without making any effort to update incomplete or misleading aspects of its report.

            Sunday night’s broadcast was not identified as a rerun, but contained essentially the same report that first aired in October 2009.  The only updated information provided in the most recent report was a mention of the Environmental Protection Agency’s current rulemaking and upcoming public hearings.  For that, 60 Minutes adopted the description of EPA’s rulemaking used by anti-coal environmental activists, saying that the agency is offering two regulatory approaches: a “tough one” and a “less stringent” approach.

            The 60 Minutes report is mostly notable for what it does NOT say.  For instance, the report does not point out that EPA’s proposed landfill standards for coal ash disposal are essentially the same under both the “tough” and “less stringent” approaches.  (The main difference between the two approaches is actually whether the federal government or the states get to enforce the rules.)

            Most of the 60 Minutes report focuses on the 2008 failure of a Tennessee coal ash disposal facility and the use of coal ash in construction of a Virginia golf course.  The “updated” report that aired Sunday night made no attempt to show the substantial progress made in cleaning up the Tennessee ash spill or government reports issued since last October confirming minimal health risk to the local community.  (See here for more information: 60 Minutes also continues to ignore a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report issued in April 2010 that concludes “…there is no significant threat to public health or the environment from site related contaminants…” at the Virginia golf course.  (See here for more information:

            60 Minutes also continues to ignore repeated requests by supporters of coal ash recycling to include information about safe recycling practices and the significant environmental benefits that come from them.

Posted by: on: Aug 16, 2010 @ 02:05