WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration will immediately begin to assess the hundreds of coal ash disposal sites at power plants across the country in the wake of two spills in Alabama and Tennessee.
Lisa Jackson, President-elect Barack Obama's pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency, said the agency will also reconsider federal regulation.
Coal ash ponds storing waste created by burning coal are not subject to federal regulations and state oversight varies.
Jackson made the pledge Wednesday during her confirmation hearing before a Senate panel.
In 2000, the EPA recommended setting a national standard for the hundreds of coal ash disposal sites nationwide. But the EPA never acted on that recommendation during the Bush administration.
One of those coal-ash sites is at Plant Scherer at Juliette in Monroe County. Georgia Power, which owns the coal-fired power plant, says its coal-ash pond is safe and is inspected regularly.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)