Time to crack down on toxic coal ash

Guest Blog | August 24, 2010 | Coal, Energy Policy

coal-plantSACE is closely following the issue of coal ash waste, and the proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule to finally regulate the toxic by-product of burning coal.  To highlight the importance of this issue and the opportunities to get involved, we are re-publishing our national ally 1Sky’s post on coal ash below.

After reading this post, you might notice one major problem.  While the EPA announced 7 official public hearings around the country on this proposed rule, not one of these hearings is within reasonable traveling distance to Roane County, Tennessee — home of our nation’s largest and most dramatic coal ash disaster in history.  Although SACE and our allies have pushed EPA to hold a local hearing, none is forthcoming.  For this reason a group of local organizations has formed the Citizens’ Coal Ash Hearing Committee, which is sponsoring a public hearing on Thursday, September 2, at 5:30pm. The hearing will be held at Roane State Community College, 276 Patton Lane, Harriman, Tennessee 37748 – full details on this flyer.  The comments made at this hearing will be officially recorded and submitted to the EPA record.

We strongly encourage you to attend this or another hearing, to tell your friends about these upcoming opportunities, and visit our website for more information on participating in this process.  Also, please submit written comments by the deadline: November 19, 2010.

For more information, we encourage you to watch a compelling segment that CBS’ 60 Minutes recently aired on the dangers of coal ash.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


This piece, originally posted by Liz Butler on August 23, 2010 through 1Sky’s Skywriter Blog, has been re-posted here by SACE with permission from 1Sky.

coalspillCoal power plants are by far the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in this country. Their pollution is making our planet a more dangerous place to live. But these coal plants also produce a by-product waste called “coal ash.” Coal ash contains toxic chemicals like arsenic, mercury and lead that can poison the water supplies of entire communities and are known to cause birth defects and premature deaths.

The Obama Administration is planning to regulate coal ash as “hazardous waste” — and as you’d expect, Dirty Coal and their allies plan to fight these regulations tooth and nail to protect their profits. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) needs to hear from you today. Tell the EPA you support cracking down on Dirty Coal and their dangerous coal ash.

On December 22, 2008, a ruptured ash dike at the Kingston Fossil Plant in Eastern Tennessee released 1.1 billion gallons of toxic coal ash — enough to fill 1,660 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The spill covered nearly 400 acres of land, causing major property and environmental damage. The sludge contained high levels of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and selenium that can cause cancer and neurological problems. This is exactly the kind of disaster that the EPA needs to prevent in the future with tough regulations.

The EPA will hold hearings in seven cities about these coal ash regulations over the next few weeks, so it’s critical that they hear from you right now. If you live near any of the following cities, please sign up to attend an EPA hearing on coal ash regulations near you:

* Monday, August 30: Arlington, VA at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City
* Thursday, September 2: Denver, CO at the Grand Hyatt
* Wednesday, September 8: Dallas, TX at the Hyatt Regency Dallas
* Tuesday, September 14: Charlotte, NC at the Holiday Inn Charlotte (Airport)
* Thursday, September 16: Chicago, IL at the Hilton Chicago
* Tuesday, September 21: Pittsburgh, PA at the Omni Hotel
* Tuesday, September 28: Louisville, KY at the Seelbach Hilton

The more they hear from concerned citizens like you, the harder it will be for Dirty Coal to block these regulations. Let’s protect the health of our families and communities —  send your comments to the EPA today and sign up to attend a hearing near you.

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