Appeals court reverses Tennessee coal ash cleanup order

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal appellate panel has overturned an order that the nation’s largest public utility must unearth and remove a Tennessee power plant’s coal ash.

A 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision Monday says the Clean Water Act does not address leaks from Tennessee Valley Authority’s Gallatin plant coal ash ponds through groundwater into the Cumberland River.

In dissent, Judge Eric Clay said the ruling lets polluters escape Clean Water Act liability by moving drainage pipes a few feet from riverbanks.

DJ Gerken of the Southern Environmental Law Center said his group is determining next steps.

The state has its own lawsuit over Gallatin’s pollution.

TVA spokesman William Scott Gureck said the ruling provides clarity. He said TVA will correct any impacts state regulators identify at TVA’s Tennessee ash ponds.

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