The Latest On: Coal Ash Regulations
In the aftermath of a major catastrophe, lawmakers and regulators should be held accountable to create new safety protocols to avert future disasters. Incidents like the Cuyahoga River catching fire and the Exxon Valdez oil spill prompted changes in how we protect our nation’s waters from industrial chemicals. The Buffalo Creek disaster in West Virginia in 1972 likewise prompted changes to the regulation of dams storing toxic materials.
Four years ago, a small Tennessee town woke up to a nightmare. A nearby coal ash pond that held back more than a billion gallons of toxic waste collapsed, sending a flood of ash and dirt right through their doors. In the weeks and months that followed, an entire nation began to see the magnitude of the coal ash threat.
The Environmental Protection Agency is delaying issuing new rules to regulate coal ash, the waste product left from burning coal in power plants. Critics say the agency is unlikely to act until after the elections. In the meantime Earthjustice continues to work to protect the public from toxins associate with coal ash.
Lisa Evans, a senior attorney for Earthjustice, said in a statement, “Lawsuits are changing corporate behavior, but that’s not a safety plan for the nation.”
Seeking protection from unsafe dumping practices, more than 300 public interest groups from 43 states, representing millions across the nation, sent a letter this week to the U.S. Senate opposing S. 3512, the “Coal Ash Recycling and Oversight Act of 2012.”