Dear Ms. Kristen Clason, Permit Manager, Solid Waste Permit Section, Permits Branch, Office of Land Quality, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, KClason@idem.in.gov
As elected officials and community leaders in Indianapolis, we are writing to ask that you require Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) to conduct and publish a full cost-benefit analysis of options for closing the coal ash ponds at Harding Street and Eagle Valley, to ensure that IPL customers are getting the least-cost, most effective plan in the long-term interest of public health and the environment.
Groundwater testing by IPL shows high levels of arsenic and other contaminants under the coal ash ponds. According to the Hoosier Environmental Council, the Harding Street data shows the highest concentration of arsenic, a known carcinogen, at levels nearly 50 times the national drinking water standard. Arsenic levels in groundwater underneath the Eagle Valley ash ponds also exceed the national drinking water standard.
IPL’s proposed plan would place a cap over the site but leave the coal ash waste where it is now, directly above a sensitive groundwater supply with no further water treatment. We are concerned that contamination will continue to flow into the nearby White River, while buried waste leaches pollution into the groundwater.
Combined, IPL’s plans for Eagle Valley and Harding Street. estimate $36.2 million for cleanup and another $5.3 million for continued federally-required monitoring — costs that will be borne by IPL customers. However, IPL’s plan does not consider the risk of future long-term costs for water treatment that, if required, may reach tens of millions of dollars.
In an interview with Electric Consumer magazine, an Indiana rural electric publication, Gov. Mike Pence said in 2013 that “common sense and a cost-benefit analysis ought to always inform regulatory policy, be it at the state level or the federal level.”
We ask that IPL conduct and share with the public a thorough cost-benefit analysis of all closure options and future risks: