The Sierra Club would like your help at some EPA public hearings.
The EPA has proposed two rules to regulate toxic coal ash, and they’re going to hold only five hearings across the country to hear from citizens. One of those hearings is going to be in Dallas, Texas, on September 8th, so we are putting all hands on deck to make sure that there’s a powerful voice demanding a strong coal ash rule.
Not sure what coal ash is? It’s all the waste produced when burning coal (you can imagine how toxic it is). It may look like dirt, but it tastes like a Superfund site: monitoring data at 31 coal ash sites found arsenic, lead, selenium, cadmium, thallium antimony, mercury, boron, sulfate, and more exceeding drinking water standards in groundwater at 26 of the sites.
Right now, coal companies are free to put it wherever they like, usually in ponds, landfills, and uncovered earthen pits.
The EPA has proposed a strong option, which would classify coal ash as hazardous waste, and under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Subtitle C, the EPA would have the power to federally enforce the following requirements: getting a permit for a disposal site, require effective clean-up in the case of a leak, groundwater monitoring, and storage sites. The soft option means continuing to classify coal ash as solid waste, which means that the regulation would be state-to state and enforcement would depend on the oh-so-easy citizen lawsuits. If you remember Pirates of the Caribbean, the soft option is kind of like Pirate Code. It’s more of a guidelines, really, which means Elizabeth Turner is still going to be a prisoner on the Black Pearl and coal companies are still going to dump coal ash wherever they like.
Click over to learn more, including what the options are, what coal ash is, and where it is, in Texas and elsewhere. Did you read that Chron story from Sunday about the fight over “flex permits”? Wouldn’t you like to know just exactly what the Fayette Power Project is doing with all of the ash it generates? Then sign up to help out. They’ll get you to the Dallas hearing if you need a ride. We have one chance in Texas to tell the EPA what we want them to do about this, so let’s take advantage of it.