In a sort of silver lining to the woes of coal power: A sizable chunk of the waste ash produced by coal-fired power pants can be reused for things like concrete. And while it falls short of making the electricity production carbon-neutral, it does save some manufacturers from putting more carbon in the air.
But when dealing with a byproduct from a toxic process, there are sometimes disastrous unintended results when ash is used a landfill for golf courses or roads.
In the end, the efforts to recycle some of the ash seem to be a: You burned down the house but saved the cat and dog moment.
The paper also has a story about how the problem of toxic ash is only getting worse with more time. It seems as coal plants scrub more toxins from the air, they have to go somewhere, and that's to the ash.