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WASHINGTON » The Environmental Protection Agency is taking its first major action to address toxic wastewater from coal-burning power plants, ordering utilities to stop dumping waste into unlined storage ponds and speed up plans to close leaking or otherwise dangerous coal ash sites.

Plants in four states will have to close the coal ash ponds months or years ahead of schedule, the EPA said Tuesday, citing deficiencies with groundwater monitoring, cleanup or other problems.

 

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