Environmental groups want ruling on coal ash water pollution

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Two Tennessee environmental groups are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on whether the federal Clean Water Act applies to pollution from a coal ash dump.

The groups sued to force the Tennessee Valley Authority to clean up coal ash pits at its Gallatin Fossil Plant. Court documents showed pollutants from the ash leech into the groundwater and then enter the Cumberland River. That’s a source of drinking water for Nashville.

In September, a divided panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Clean Water Act doesn’t address leaks through groundwater, only direct discharges, such as through a pipe.

Other circuits have ruled differently. The Supreme Court already has agreed to hear an appeal on the issue in a case out of Hawaii.

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