Environmentalists, utilities eye Virginia coal ash trial


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Energy companies and environmentalists are closely watching an upcoming federal court ruling from Virginia that could have far-reaching effects on how utilities dispose of the potentially toxic waste created by decades of burning coal.

Judge James A. Gibney Jr. heard four days of testimony recently about what should be done with coal ash along the Elizabeth River. Environmental groups want the coal ash excavated and transported. Dominion Virginia Power, the state’s largest electric utility, said it would be cheaper and just as safe to keep the coal ash on site.

Gibney did not say when he would make a ruling in the lawsuit, which industry experts said is the first of its kind to go to trial in the entire country.

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