Over the rest of the decade, a large number of coal-fired electric plants will be closed for good, replaced by more efficient, less polluting natural gas facilities. While this is a net environmental gain, utilities will be faced with massive environmental liabilities from the former coal plants, including everything from mercury and PCBs to enormous ash lagoons and dams. Many of these plants are 50+ years old and were built at a time when we had fewer environmental safeguards. I'll bet there are some serious nasties out there.
While it might be tempting to blame gas for this transition, these cleanup projects were going to have to happen eventually. It's best for communities if the utilities to address these problems sooner rather than later to eliminate these serious environmental dangers from the landscape.