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Alabama Power wants to seal coal ash at Barry Plant in place, others argue digging it up and moving it

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    MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) — Opposing opinions at a public meeting in Saraland Tuesday night over Alabama Power’s plan to seal coal ash in place at it’s Barry Power Plant in Mobile County.

Not everyone’s on board with that plan. Those on the other side want the coal ash removed so it doesn’t pollute the Mobile River.

Coal ash is leftover waste after coal is burned. In recent years, significant levels of heavy metals toxic to people and the environment have been found in groundwater at the plant’s ash pond.

Both sides expressed their stance in possibly the most important hearing before a final decision is reached.

Jen Whalen a Baldwin County Resident who is against leaving the coal ash in place said, “To leave it in place is going to pass that danger down the line. Not to mention it’s going to be seeping into the groundwater and be a potential hazard for every hurricane and flood that runs through here.”

Blake Hardwich at the Energy Institute of Alabama said, “My concern is the other alternative of excavating it and trucking it. We’re talking about millions of tons of coal ash down state, US highways, unknown communities and dumping it into another community.”

Alabama Power sent FOX10 News this statement on their reasoning to close in place:

“Alabama Power spent years evaluating the safest possible choice for closing the plant Barry coal ash site, ultimately deciding that sealing the site through the closure-in-place method was the safest option.”

If you want your opinion heard on what happens to the coal ash, public comments are open until April 6th.

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