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Coal Ash Rule Coming This April?


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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
19 February 2010, 10:58 AM
New EPA website says rules are on the way
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

I know how crazy this sounds: I love spending time reading through arcane government filings in the Federal Register and on Regulations.gov. I'm fascinated by the volume of it all, and like a modern day miner panning for environmental gold, I sometimes unearth a juicy nugget of information. Today is one of those days.

Yesterday, the EPA sent out a press release about a new website they've created for bureaucratic nerds like me: www.epa.gov/rulemaking. This site is a "regulatory gateway," giving all sorts of information about current and pending federal regualtions. So, of course, I start searching various issues we work on: cement kilns (final rule due June 2010), power plants (regulating mercury emissions, proposal due March 2011). But the best nugget came when I searched "coal combustion waste."

You remember that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson had been saying since the huge coal ash spill in Tennessee in December 2008 that EPA was going to introduce the first-ever federal regulations for coal ash ponds by December 2009. But then, just days before the one-year anniversary of that tragedy, EPA announced they were not going to make their deadline and weren't exactly sure when these regulations would come out.

In the meantime, we learned that lobbyists for polluters had met with White House and other government officials on the coal ash issue an unprecedented 36 times in the previous three months (or about once every three days). They continue to pressure EPA and others to back down on important public health and environmental safeguards against coal ash contamination.

So while digging through the new EPA website I found that the agency plans to issue the proposed coal ash rule in April 2010. It can't come too soon. EPA reported last year that at 49 other coal ash dumps across the country, a similar Tennessee-like spill could occur at any moment.

 I only wish EPA had made some announcement about a regulatory time machine which would allow them to go back in time and propose coal ash rules years ago, so that we might have been able to prevent what happened in Tennessee. But that would just be crazy, right?

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The debate concerning the global warming is still very 'hot' but for me the important thing is not to be able to prove that humans are causing the global warming, the important thing is to realize and admit that the way we live does not promote good health, a clean environment and good living conditions for other living species. This is enough for me to make me act in one way or another, even though my contribution is small. Gunnar Bjurs sesli siteler

Of course these issues are very important to EPA and all of us but I believe they should have thought much earlier about them refrigerator water filters.

Its really heartening that the EPA is finally sitting up and doing something about Coal Ash Rule though it is disappointing that it is coming way too late(one and a half years late, in fact!!) It is worrying that it is after so many times of visits to government offices and the White House that they finally were able to make them see reason where we would have expected it to have been the other way round with the authorities' taking the initiative!! Anyway, thank God it is finally coming into force!!Refrigerator Filters

As living in another country, I would however like to add my voice to this specific cause.
The environmental issues and the consequences of our use of coal or other CO2-producing energies, does concern the whole planet.

The debate concerning the global warming is still very 'hot' but for me the important thing is not to be able to prove that humans are causing the global warming, the important thing is to realize and admit that the way we live does not promote good health, a clean environment and good living conditions for other living species.

This is enough for me to make me act in one way or another, even though my contribution is small.

Gunnar Bjursell

Good digging!

According to the EPA page linked in your article:

"Children's Health
This rule is likely to address an adverse impact on childhood lifestages, including prenatal (via exposure to women of childbearing age). The potential adverse impacts are expected to be due to exposure and toxicity. ("Exposure" means children and/or women of childbearing age are more likely to be highly exposed than other lifestages. "Toxicity" means the developing fetus, infants, and/or children are more likely to have an adverse response than adult lifestages.)

Environmental Justice
This rulemaking involves a topic that is likely to be of particular interest to or have particular impact upon minority, low-income, tribal, and/or other disadvantaged populations ..."

There is also a contact page. The public may contact the EPA and make a comment about the rule.

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