Coal power plant. Credit: VanderWolf-Images/Getty Images

An analysis from Politico found that over 100 sites storing toxic ash from coal-burning power plants are located in areas that federal emergency managers warn have a high risk of flooding.

Why it matters: Coal ash is a multibillion-dollar liability, and scientists warn that increased rain brought on by a warming climate could worsen the threat by spreading the substance into neighboring communities. The findings come as the Trump administration is looking to reverse an Obama-era regulation seeking to prevent coal-ash disasters.

  • Toxins in coal ash such as lead, arsenic, mercury and other contaminants have the potential to cause severe illnesses, including neurological damage and cancer. Officials have also warned that government-sanctioned flood maps already likely understate the potential of deluges in most of the U.S.
  • The trouble goes further, Politico notes: "Scientists say the heavier rains expected to come from a warming planet also threaten to bring a more hidden peril — rising water tables that seep into the ash impoundments, contaminating groundwater used for agriculture and drinking."

Between the lines: An Obama-era regulation limited eligible locations for storage, required utilities to track groundwater pollution near sites and provided incentives for utilities to install protective liners in their storage ponds. The Environmental Protection Agency under Trump is now moving to weaken regulations, including by "letting states waive some cleanup requirements, exclude certain contaminants from pollution programs and suspend groundwater monitoring," per Politico.

  • But, but, but: Scientists and environmentalists note that even the Obama regulations didn't fully address climate change's role in the toxic waste threat.

Go deeper: Trump's EPA swaps Obama's biggest climate policy for narrow rule

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Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 19,193,661 — Total deaths: 716,735 — Total recoveries — 11,611,029Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 4,918,927 — Total deaths: 160,737 — Total recoveries: 1,598,624 — Total tests: 59,652,675Map.
  3. Politics: White House recommends Trump issue executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus — Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.

Trump: "We are going a different way" on coronavirus aid

President Trump. Photo: Jim Watsonn/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday that his administration is "going a different way" with coronavirus aid after negotiations with congressional Democrats stalled again, suggesting he will use an executive order to address stimulus spending.

What he's saying: "Pelosi and Schumer only interested in Bailout Money for poorly run Democrat cities and states. Nothing to do with China Virus! Want one trillion dollars. No interest. We are going a different way!" Trump tweeted.

Trump's swift, sweeping China offensive

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump's rhetoric on China has tended to run hotter than his actions — until now.

Why it matters: Even at the height of Trump's trade war, his administration never hit China as hard, as fast, and on as many fronts as it is right now.