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MidAmerican Energy’s Coal Waste Threatens our Water

Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Energy has a dirty secret they don’t want you to know. While spending millions of dollars on disingenuous TV ads about their renewable energy investments, they run one of the largest coal fleets in the country. And each day, these coal plants create a toxic bi-product called coal ash that gets dumped into our Iowa communities. 

  • An Earthjustice report found that regulated landfills and ponds across the country hold more than 2 billion cubic yards of coal ash — enough to fill about 600,000 Olympic swimming pools.

  • Twelve sites in Iowa that store coal ash — a waste product formed during coal-fired energy generation — are leaching toxic pollutants into the nearby environment, according to a report. Four of these sites belong to MidAmerican Energy.

  • Contaminants include arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium, and other metals into groundwater at dangerous levels, often threatening streams, rivers, and drinking water aquifers. 

  • Coal ash contains toxic pollutants that can cause cancer, disease and bodily and neurological damage. Many coal-fired power plants historically have disposed of coal ash in unlined surface impoundments — known as coal ash ponds — or landfills, where it can leach into nearby water sources. 

  • The vast majority of power plant owners don’t propose any treatment for groundwater at contaminated sites. By not fulfilling these requirements — and more — from the EPA’s rule, the report said that many of the country’s coal-fired power plants were out of compliance.

  • The MidAmerican Energy sites across Iowa that had pollutant levels exceeding safe health-based thresholds are:

    • Louisa Generating Station (MidAmerican Energy)

    • Neal North Energy Center (MidAmerican Energy)

    • Neal South Energy Center (MidAmerican Energy)

    • Walter Scott Jr. Energy Center (MidAmerican Energy)


Instead of cleaning up the coal ash waste, MidAmerican recently proposed to dump it into the Missouri River.
Rather than looking for new places to dump their toxic waste, MidAmerican Energy and Berkshire need to get real about a true plan to be a clean energy leader and close their coal plants.

Take action by signing this petition hosted by our friends at Iowa Interfaith Power and Light!

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