SEPTEMBER 14, 2017
Washington, D.C. —
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decided today that it will “reconsider” the first-ever federal rule that provides health and environmental safeguards for communities near toxic coal ash waste dumps.
In a letter to an industry trade group and to owners of coal-fired power plants that comes on the heels of their decision yesterday to delay the coal plant wastewater rule, the EPA indicated that it would grant two legal petitions that the industrial polluters filed to reconsider most of the EPA’s environmental safeguards for coal ash, which is the toxic waste left over from coal-burning power plants.
For decades, coal ash was dumped into giant pits, where toxins can seep into water and soil and blow into the air. Coal ash waste is filled with some of some of the deadliest known toxins, including arsenic, lead, mercury and chromium. The toxics raise the risk for cancer, heart disease, and stroke, and can inflict lasting brain damage on children.
“It is disappointing to see this reversal from EPA,” said Shelby Ward, Staff Attorney for the Tennessee Clean Water Network. “Tennessee communities have faced pollution from coal ash contaminates leaching into water for many years. Correcting these health and safety impacts is long overdue.”
“This decision is a galling giveaway to industrial polluters, even by this Administration’s standards of pandering to industry at the expense of the public,” said Earthjustice attorney Lisa Evans. “The EPA is sending a crystal-clear message to families across the country: our job is to protect wealthy polluters, not you and your children. These toxic dumps should have been cleaned up decades ago. Americans will not stand idly by as the EPA puts their health and safety at risk—and neither will Earthjustice or our partners. We will fight for these critical safeguards.”
To read the entire EarthJustice news release, click here