The Illinois Pollution Control Board is holding public hearings on a proposal to tighten rules for dozens of coal-ash ponds. Representatives from utility, environmental and grassroots groups spoke at the panel's first hearing. The proposed rules would require coal-burning power plants to monitor groundwater for contamination and report findings to regulators. But environmentalists say stronger rules are needed to prevent an accident like one recently in North Carolina, where up to 27 million gallons of polluted water and over 80,000 tons of ash spilled from a pond. Illinois power plants produce an estimated 4.4 million tons of coal ash each year. A second hearing was being held in Springfield today. Two more will be held in Chicago in mid-May.
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