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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

Go deeper

AP: Justice Dept. rescinds "zero tolerance" policy

A young girl waves to onlookers through the fence at the US-Mexico border wall at Friendship Park in San Ysidro, California in Nov. 2018. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden's acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued a memo on Tuesday to revoke the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which separated thousands of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, AP first reported.

Driving the news: A recent report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz emphasized the internal chaos at the agency over the implementation of the policy, which resulted in 545 parents separated from their children as of October 2020.

Biden picks up his pen to change the tone on racial equity

Vice President Harris looks on as President Biden signs executives orders related to his racial equity agenda. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden is making a down payment on racial equity in a series of executive orders dealing with everything from private prisons to housing discrimination, treatment of Asian Americans and relations with indigenous tribes.

The big picture: Police reform and voting rights legislation will take time to pass in Congress. But with the stroke of his pen, one week into the job Biden is taking steps within his power as he seeks to change the tone on racial justice from former President Trump.

Most Senate Republicans join Rand Paul effort to dismiss Trump's 2nd impeachment trial

Photo: Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

Forty-five Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported an effort to dismiss former President Trump's second impeachment trial.

Why it matters: The vote serves as a precursor to how senators will approach next month's impeachment trial, making it highly unlikely the Senate will vote to convict. The House impeached Trump for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" following events from Jan 6. when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.