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Clean Air Ambassador: Susan Holmes

Every time a truck dumps a load of fly ash, fugitive dust leaves the site and blankets the town and the surrounding area.

My sister died in 2004 of lung cancer. Since her home was on the highway, she routinely breathed coal fly ash that fell off of the 80 or so trucks that passed by a day. Since the AES power plant was opened in 1991, she had lived in the vicinity of several different dump sites. This seemed to relate directly to her death as well as the health of many other families in town.

At this time there are 3 coal combustion waste sites located from a mile-and-a-half to five miles from our town. The trucks drive the main highway from the power plant to a site called Making Money Having Fun (MMHF, LLC). This site is a mile and a half south of town. Every time a truck dumps a load of fly ash, fugitive dust leaves the site and blankets the town and the surrounding area. Of the 20 homes closest to the site, there are cancer victims in 14 of them.

In 2008, the local power plant (AES) had a permit to build an additional power plant twice the size of the existing plant. My mom and I attended a meeting hosted by the Center for Energy Matters about the problems surrounding the opening of an additional plant. After listening to their presentation, we discovered that the reason we had attended was not even addressed. We had attended to find out more information about coal combustion waste and how a new plant twice the size of the original would affect our town and the fly ash dump located within a mile and a half of us.

After attending several meetings a group was formed to fight against AES building a new plant and the existing fly ash issue. After the permit for the new power plant was pulled, we narrowed our focus on fighting the fly ash and the fugitive dust that was blanketing our town. As we did our research, we looked for ways we could fight the problem. In different degrees, all of us were affected by the fugitive dust being released outside the permitted area of the fly ash dump site. Learning about contaminants and toxics in fly ash and the health issues caused by the dust was very upsetting.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency needs to adopt subtitle C, which will classify coal combustion waste as a special waste and subject it to federal hazardous waste guidelines that all states will have to follow. As for the Making Money Having Fun dump site, although it is state permitted as a landfill, all documentation proved it is a surface impoundment. I want the EPA to classify it as a surface impoundment. I want President Obama, members of Congress and the EPA to work together to ensure subtitle C is adopted and the budget is not cut in ways that will render the EPA ineffective.

2013 Clean Air Ambassador

Susan was also a Clean Air Ambassador during the second
50 States United for Healthy Air event, held in May 2013.
Susan's 2013 Ambassador Page »

Ambassador Audio: 
Ambassador Group Affiliation: 
B.E. Cause
Ambassador Profession: 
Graphic Designer