Don't let Congress block EPA rules on toxic coal ash
The EPA is long overdue to pass regulations on coal ash, the toxic byproduct that is left over from burning coal and often stored in massive sludge ponds prone to leaking toxic chemicals into water supplies -- or worse.
Now, the House of Representatives is ramming through two bills that would stop the EPA from setting much-needed federal regulations on coal ash -- leaving drinking water supplies at risk of contamination across the country, while preserving coal companies' blank-check to carry out their dangerous disposal methods without federal oversight.1
We likely can't stop these irresponsible attacks on our health and safety from moving through the House, but we can make sure there is a firewall of opposition in the Senate, to prevent these bills from being passed into law.
Tell the Senate: Oppose any attempts to weaken the EPA’s power to regulate coal ash.
Coal ash is dangerous. It contains mercury, arsenic, lead and other toxic chemicals, and piles up in massive quantities. Lacking safe ways to dispose of it, coal companies leave this sludge sitting in massive tailing ponds, the construction and inspection of which falls under state rules made dangerously lax by coal industry influence.2
Many of these poorly constructed ponds have been found to leak toxic waste into water supplies. Others have failed catastrophically, most recently in Kingston, Tennessee in 2008, where 5.4 million cubic yards of coal-ash sludge spilled into waterways and homes, resulting in a cleanup process taking years and costing nearly $1 billion.3
That’s why the EPA has been evaluating whether to classify coal ash as a hazardous waste, which would allow the agency to regulate coal ash and enforce new rules on the way it’s stored and disposed of.
But these bills barreling through the House would stop the EPA, and prevent federal oversight of lax state programs on coal ash -- leaving water supplies across the country at risk. With some Democrats in the House supporting the Republican coal ash bills, we need to make sure that all senators know of our strong opposition to these attacks on our health and safety.
Thank you for standing up to coal companies.
1. Lisa Evans, "Tr-Ash Talk: GOP Rushes to Quash Protections for Coal Ash," Earthjustice, June 7, 2013.
2. Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson, "Many coal sludge impoundments have weak walls, federal study says," Washington Post, April 24, 2013.
3. Shaila Dewan, "Tennessee Ash Flood Larger Than Initial Estimate," New York Times, December 26, 2008.