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Posts Tagged ‘ash’

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. (more…)

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The Senate is about to hear legislation pertaining to coal ash waste regulation. There is an amendment proposed to slash EPA’s funding so that they cannot enforce safeguards at coal ash waste landfills. The following is a message from our friends with Environmental Integrity Project. Please take a few moments to contact your senator and let them know you want enforcement of regulations on these very hazardous and dangerous waste sites.

Dear Friends,

Thank you for helping to influence 183 Representatives in the US House to vote against Congressman McKinley’s amendment to eliminate EPA’s funding to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste.  Eighteen Representatives were Republicans switching ranks to vote against their party’s leadership and for safe water.

Within one week we MUST defeat this amendment likely to be proposed to the budget bill (Continuing Resolution) that is brought to the floor of the Senate, or this egregious proposal to slash EPA’s funding could become a reality – leaving EPA unable to enforce basic safeguards at toxic coal ash dumps such as liners, covers or monitoring and thousands of American communities nearby in harm’s way.

Nearly a half million Americans submitted comments on the EPA’s proposed coal ash rules with a majority of them in support of safeguards.   More than a thousand concerned citizens who traveled to 8 day-long EPA hearings supported these safeguards.  Clearly, Americans have voiced their support FOR protection of our drinking water and public health by the US EPA.

Please call your Senators today and urge them to vote NO to any amendments to cut the US EPA’s authority to protect our health from toxic coal ash.
Use this link to find phone numbers for your Senators – you just need to type in your zip code: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/

1.  Tell your Senators you want them to respect the rule-making process and the comments that their constituents submitted on the EPA coal ash regulation.

2.  Tell them to let the US EPA to do its job and protect public health.

3.  Ask them if you can count on their support for basic safeguards to protect public health from toxic coal ash.

After you make your call, please let us know you’ve made the calls and what their offices said.  Send your responses to: [email protected].

Please let your US Senators know today that Americans throughout the country want to be protected – call them immediately and tell them to uphold our right to safe drinking water.

Thanks for your continuing help and please spread the word.

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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.

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In Winter of 2008 a coal ash slurry pond in Tennessee broke its damn, contaminating miles of downstream waterways and people’s homes with deadly carcinogens and other toxic substances. At the time it was called the worst environmental disaster since the Exxon Valdez and brought  a wake up call to the EPA that this waste product was entirely under-regulated. EPA now stands poised to set new regulations on coal ash waste, but the coal industry is lobbying strenuously against it, advocating for a much weaker standard that will do little to change the status quo.

The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) has just released a report called In Harm’s Way which takes a look at groundwater contamination surrounding coal ash waste sites throughout the country. The report showed that contaminants at 39 coal-waste sites across 21 states have leached into the groundwater. Many coal ash sites did not have enough data available to show any meaningful results, particularly here in Texas, but the Fayette coal plant (which Austin is a partial owner in) showed considerable contamination beneath their site. Adam Engelman, Environmental Analyst with EIP, stated that:

At every one of the coal ash dump sites equipped with groundwater monitoring wells — concentrations of heavy metals such as arsenic or lead exceed federal health-based standards for drinking water, with concentrations at LCRA’s Fayette Power Project reaching as high as 4 times the state standard for selenium and twice the state standard for arsenic.

The report shows that coal ash itself is a disaster simply by existing, regardless of catastrophic events like what happened in Tennessee almost two years ago. EPA must not give into industry lobbyists and pass weak regulations that will fail public health and the environment. Visit Sierra Club’s Coal Ash website for information on an EPA hearing near you, and to sign up to speak at the hearings. If you cannot make the hearings you can also submit online comments here – be sure to ask EPA to adopt the strictest regulations possible.

In order to make a profit, coal companies rely on making the public pay for the damage they cause. We should no longer have to bear the cost of their mistakes and irresponsibility.

You can see the EIP report here and you can see the press conference that was held Thursday in Austin here:

Press Conference, Sponsored by Berman, Leo – Sierra Club on Coal Combustion Waste

or by going to the Texas House of Representatives video archive and clicking on the link dated 8/26/10 with the same title.

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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.

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TODAY is our National Coal Ash Day of Action –  please ask the White House to allow the US EPA to finally regulate coal ash as the hazardous waste it is. Currently, coal ash is less regulated than household trash!  This toxic waste stream has never been regulated and that must change, now.

1.  Please send an email to President Obama:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

2.  Call the White House:
  • Comments: 202-456-1111 – leave a message
  • Switchboard: 202-456-1414 – talk to an operator
  • FAX: 202-456-2461

This toxic waste is often stored in wet, slurry impoundments  like this TVA one that failed just over a year ago in Tennessee. Such facilities post the risk of catastrophic failure – the TVA disaster was labeled one of the worst environmental disasters in history by the EPA. Toxic sludge can leech and runoff into nearby watersheds over the course of years, contaminating the ecosystem. The ash is also sometimes stored in dry landfills, as is often the case in Texas. While these landfills don’t pose the same catastrophic risk of slurry impoundments, they still contaminate the environment through leeching, runoff and by the wind blowing the toxic dust off the piles.

It is extremely important that Texans call in because Texas tops the list of states at risk from coal combustion waste. The coal industry is attempting to get dry-ash landfills exempted from new regulations – and most of the coal ash in Texas is stored in this fashion. It is the same, exact, toxic substances in both storage facilities, the only difference is whether or not you mix it with water. ALL coal ash waste MUST be regulated as the hazardous waste it is. (more…)

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