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Sierra Club Releases Clean Water Voting Record

Sierra Club

The Sierra Club released a clean water voting record Oct. 10 for the U.S. House of Representatives, in time for an expected floor vote this week on a bill that would block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from protecting communities from toxic coal ash. Coal ash is a dangerous solid waste by-product of burning coal, containing mercury, arsenic, hexavalent chromium and lead. There are more than 130 cases of coal ash contaminating communities across the country.

The interactive, online report card issues letter grades for U.S. Representatives’ voting records on clean water issues.

“Coal ash is toxic and harms public health,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “Unbelievably, toxic coal ash currently has no federal safeguards, but the health and environmental risks from coal ash dumping include cancer, neurological disorders, birth defects, reproductive failure, asthma and other serious illnesses. This anti-clean water bill from Rep. McKinley would perpetuate the status quo by putting a scheme in place that is less protective than standards for disposing of household garbage, leaving our communities in danger of toxic coal ash pollution.”

The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2273), introduced by W. Va. Congressman David McKinley, would endanger the health and safety of thousands of communities. The bill, which is expected for a floor this week, would:

  • Allow indefinite operation of dangerous ash ponds like the one that dumped more than a billion gallons of coal ash sludge in Tennessee in December of 2008;
  • Deny citizens who live near coal ash dump sites any federal right to notice, comment and a public hearing when new sites are proposed for construction or old ones are expanded; and
  • Handcuff the EPA from enforcing disposal standards, even at contaminated coal ash sites.

This latest threat is part of an unprecedented attack on clean water from this Congress. Instead of protecting communities from well-known and dangerous contaminates in our waters, some members of Congress have chosen to rollback or completely stop common sense safeguards.

For more information, click here.

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View the Sierra Club’s new Clean Water Report Card Here.

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