On Sept. 14, more than 300 public interest groups representing millions of citizens from 43 states sent a letter to the U.S. Senate opposing S.3512, the Coal Ash Recycling and Oversight Act of 2012. The bill, introduced last July by Sens. Hoeven (R-SD), Conrad (D-SD) and Baucus (D- MT), prevents the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from finalizing its proposed coal ash rule—or ever issuing regulations for the nation’s second largest industrial waste stream.
“This flawed bill fails to mitigate the risk of another human health and environmental disaster and leaves our water sources open to contamination with dangerous heavy metals. While claiming to be a solution to our coal pollution problem, this bill is merely a giveaway to industry that will hurt the health and well-being of millions of Americans,” the letter states.
The letter represents Americans across the nation who are hurt by coal ash. Coal-burning utilities churn out 140 million tons of toxic coal ash each year, containing millions of pounds of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury and more. S. 3512 not only obstructs the U.S. EPA from doing its job, the legislation encourages inadequate state programs that preserve the status quo and extend the lives of hundreds of leaking toxic dumps.
“This letter demonstrates the immense nationwide support for health protections from toxic ash. It’s a shame our elected officials are standing in the way of clean water and air for millions of Americans,” said Earthjustice attorney Lisa Evans. “This coal ash bill puts thousands of American communities at risk and forces the EPA to stop doing its job.”
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