• Osceola residents continue to protest controversial coal ash from Puerto Rico

    By: Ashley Edlund , James Tutten

    Updated:

    OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - The fight against controversial coal ash from Puerto Rico isn't losing steam in Osceola County. 

    More than a dozen protestors in Kissimmee said they want a local landfill to stop taking the ash sooner.

    Protesters said they're pushing for the landfill to make changes immediately.


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    The J.E.D. Landfill entered into an agreement with Osceola County to take the coal ash until the end of the year.

    Landfill officials said it would end the contract a few months early, but protestors said that's not good enough.

    “You get something polluted on the surface, it doesn't just stay on the surface. It goes into our drinking water,” said resident Valerie Anderson.

    Last month, Osceola County commissioners heard those concerns from the public and sent a letter to the landfill to stop taking the ash.

    The landfill responded and said it would stop taking the ash on or before Oct. 1.

    Osceola County leaders said that wasn't good enough.

    “The first letter was sent, and it brought us down time from December to October but for me that is not good enough,” said Commissioner Peggy Choudhry. “So I requested for my board for support to send another one to let them know we're serious.”

    Commissioners sent another letter this week and are waiting on a response.

    This all began when county commissioners in April approved a deal with the landfill to accept as many as 650 million pounds of coal ash until the end of the year.

    The two agreed to a contract that Choudhry said was a last-minute agenda item and left them no way to back out.

    “Unfortunately, in the contract, it did not allow us to do that. So it's something we learned from, and at the end of the day, we need to make sure we do what we can to do what the people want us to do,” Choudhry said. 

    The Florida Department of Environmental Protection said the dumping is safe, legal and regulated and that the landfill has the proper permits and licenses to dispose of the ash.

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