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We Energies: Debris from failed bluff likely included coal ash

A U.S. Coast Guard boat patrols debris in the water Monday off the shore from the We Energies power plant. A bluff collapsed on the site, sending construction trailers and equipment toward Lake Michigan. (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A We Energies spokeswoman says the debris that washed into Lake Michigan on Monday during a sudden landslide likely contains toxic coal ash.

A section of cliff collapsed Monday at the power plant in the suburban Milwaukee city of Oak Creek.

No one was hurt, but a swath of debris the size of a football field swept toward and into the water.

Spokeswoman Cathy Schulze said records of land use in the area suggest there was decades-old coal ash around. She said Tuesday she didn’t immediately have further details on how much coal ash may have spilled.

Coal ash contains arsenic, selenium, lead and mercury in low concentrations.

According to the Sierra Club, Congress needs to stop interfering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to strengthen coal-ash regulation.

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