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Boxer Throws Punch At Coal Ash

Some members of the Senate believe it’s acceptable to write up legislation to prevent the EPA from regulating toxic coal ash—and then attach it to a completely unrelated bill.

They tried unsuccessfully earlier this summer to put it into must-pass legislation that would help maintain and improve our nation’s highway infrastructure. They’re considering including it as a “rider” on the pending “fiscal cliff” bill. They even talked about putting it on a spending bill for the Department of Defense.

It seems some senators know no bounds on allowing polluters to continue dumping this waste—filled with arsenic, lead, mercury and more—into unlined and unmonitored ponds and landfills next to coal-fired power plants. Already, coal ash has polluted lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers at nearly 200 sites across the country.

But yesterday, one senator made clear that she’s not willing to allow dangerous environmental riders onto unrelated legislation.

Sen. Barbara Boxer stood up to strongly oppose the false rider tactic:

The reason I rise today is that we may be facing two environmental riders on [the Defense Department Authorization bill], and I want to go on record as saying I am not going to let that happen … I am not going to allow an environmental rider get onto this floor and pass this Senate when we are doing a defense bill which is meant to protect our people … There is a place and a time to do those amendments and that would be on a relevant bill, a bill that comes out of the Environment Committee.

Sen. Barbara Boxer took a strong stand to protect millions of Americans living near coal ash sites. Her statements support her continued fight to clean up our nation’s second largest industrial waste stream. Her work and the work of other senators concerned with the health and safety of coal ash communities helped keep the coal ash amendment out of the Defense Department bill. Thanks, Sen. Boxer, for standing up against the polluters and their lobbyists and doing what many Americans know is the right thing.