World News with Diane Sawyer is airing a segment tonight on the Bokoshe fly-ash dump in Oklahoma. Public Citizen first worked with the people of Bokoshe and others throughout Oklahoma back in 2008 to oppose the expansion of the Shady Point coal plant in Poteau, OK – the plant that dumps its coal ash in Bokoshe. In one of the swiftest coal plant battles in US history the expansion was defeated, but the people of Bokoshe continue to deal with the problem of toxic coal-ash from the existing coal plant.
The main problem is that coal ash is almost completely unregulated despite the fact that coal ash contains heavy, metallic neurotoxins like mercury and lead as well as other toxins like selenium, cadmium, arsenic, and can even contain radioactive isotopes. Though the EPA is attempting to initiate new, stricter regulations on this toxic and hazardous waste product there is a large push back from the coal industry to weaken these standards, and the implementation of those standards has been continually delayed.
The coal industry and its powerful lobbyists have kept this waste form being regulated to the point that municipal garbage (the stuff you throw away every day) is more regulated than coal ash is. The reason? Coal industries currently profit off this toxic waste by selling it to other companies in the use and manufacture of many different products including cement, drywall, and even fertalizer for crop land. For more information on coal ash and where it can be found go here.
The TVA coal ash disaster should have been enough to wake us up to the reality of how dangerous this toxic waste is. The EPA needs to hear from the citizens and know that we consider this an important issue that needs to be dealt with properly and quickly. Watch the story tonight on ABC and take action by demanding proper regulation of coal ash waste.
By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.