The Trump administration issued a final rule Friday allowing coal plant operators to keep coal ash storage ponds in operation for years longer and allow some unlined ponds to stay open indefinitely. This is a rollback of an Obama-era rule that regulated storage and disposal of toxic ash for the first time, and will likely violate a 2018 court order to prevent water contamination from coal ash. Data by utilities has shown widespread groundwater contamination at coal plants across the U.S. due to coal ash dumping and heightened levels of pollutants — including arsenic and radium. “I’ve never seen an administration so willing to repeatedly violate a court order directing the EPA to protect the public’s health and environment,” said Lisa Evans, Earthjustice Senior Counsel in a statement. (Associated PressThe HillEngineering News-RecordCourthouse News Service)