RIGHT TO BREATHE: 50 STATES UNITED

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.

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

Clean Air Ambassador:

Susan Holmes

Bokoshe, OK

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 2013 Clean Air Ambassador: Susan Holmes.
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 »

All Messages: Supporting Our Clean Air Ambassadors.

Clean air means no chemicals, no cigeratte/cigar or any other type of smoking, where the flowers, cut grass, and rain can be smelt and no one has to worry about having any type of fumes to breathe. It means a clean, simple useful and practical style of life without car emissions and diesel and chemicals on the food, fertilizer, or being feed to animals to make them develop unnaturally. It means treating all life and things on the planet with love and respect.

You are right. Coal combustion waste should be subject to federal hazardous waste guidelines.

Susan, you have taken on an enormous task -- your courage and commitment are remarkable. Thank you for speaking out for me and for millions of people who are directly and indirectly affected by coal-burning power plants!

Thank you for everything you're doing to help us have clean air!

Know you carry with you all of our support and wishes that the administration will listen...listen to the millions effected by pour CCW handling in this nation. States are not protecting their people and pollution knows no boundaries. Thanks Susan for your strength and commitment.

It shouldn't happen, no one should be breathing in coal fly ash. I support you, Susan!

coal combustion waste needs to be subjected to federal hazardous waste guidelines!

Thank you for having the courage to stand up for all of our rights to breathe clean air, Susan!

We are not doing near enough to protect the water we drink and the air we breathe. I encourage you to work with the EPA to guarantee us and future generations the ability to breathe clean air, free of toxins. A big pat on the back to Susan Holmes too for bringing this issue to the forefront.

i'm sorry about the loss of your mother and am so proud you have the courage to take on these big polluters. your trip to d.c. is inspiring!

i'm sorry about the loss of your mother and am so proud you have the courage to take on these big polluters. your trip to d.c. is inspiring!

Good luck, Susan. Thanks for taking your story to D.C.!

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <p> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.