10.08.20 – MILLER STEAM PLANT + FISHTRAP MINE, WEST JEFFERSON
The Miller Steam Plant is an 800-acre coal-fired electrical generation facility operated by the Alabama Power Company. Cited by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2017 as the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses in the US, Miller’s more than 29 million tons of coal ash are stored in a 321-acre unlined storage pit located behind a 170 foot tall earthen dam along the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River. On average during 2018, the maximum daily discharge of coal ash wastewater from Miller’s ash pit into the river was approximately 11.51 million gallons. Alabama Power has begun plans to de-waterthe facility, with a final closure date estimated for 2029. This summer Alabama Power scheduled public meetings to discuss their ash pond remediation plans – despite little outreach and without providing virtual attendance options during the pandemic. As a result of the EPA’s 2015 Coal Combustion Residuals rule to inact risk-reduction nationwide, Ala. Power plans to drain, shrink, and cover contents in place. According to the company, their cap-in-place strategy is comprehensive and will include pumping out and treating the existing water, constructing dikes and walls to protect against flooding and leaking, and monitoring the site for at least 30 years.