The White House took a strong stand for the environment yesterday, issuing a statement against a proposed bill currently looming in Congress that would undermine the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to adopt strong safeguards for coal ash management. In that statement the Administration specifically identified the 2008 Kingston disaster as a reminder of why strong coal ash safeguards are so important, saying:
[F]ailure of a coal ash impoundment in Kingston, Tennessee, which spilled more than five million cubic yards of coal ash and will require approximately $1.2 billion for clean-up, is a stark reminder of the need for safe disposal and management of coal ash to protect public health and the environment.
The bad bill that the White House opposed with yesterday’s statement is H.R. 2273 and follows in a long line of Congressional attacks against EPA in 2011. This bill purports to create a new regulatory framework in which states would have the primary responsibility for safeguarding coal ash. Unfortunately, states already have the authority to oversee coal ash and they are totally shirking that responsibility, which is why federally enforceable standards are absolutely necessary.
It is good news that the Administration has taken a stand against this bill, but it is not enough. Congress will likely vote on this bill by Friday, and it is important for you to Take Action by contacting your representatives and telling them that you too oppose H.R. 2273 and any efforts to prevent EPA from doing their job to protect Americans from toxic pollution.
Read the full White House statement here.