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State

Pollution panel weighing new rules for coal ash

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — The Illinois Pollution Control Board is holding public hearings on a proposal to tighten rules for dozens of coal-ash ponds.

The State Journal-Register in Springfield reports that (http://tinyurl.com/q288uzg ) representatives from utility, environmental and grassroots groups spoke Wednesday at the panel's first hearing.

The proposed rules would require coal-burning power plants to monitor groundwater for contamination and report findings to regulators.

But environmentalists say stronger rules are needed to prevent an accident like one recently in North Carolina, where up to 27 million gallons of polluted water and over 80,000 tons of ash spilled from a pond.

Illinois power plants produce an estimated 4.4 million tons of coal ash each year.

A second hearing will be held in Springfield on Thursday. Two more will be held in Chicago in mid-May.

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Information from: The State Journal-Register, http://www.sj-r.com

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