The Latest On: Coal Ash
Lisa Evans, Senior Administrative Counsel, Earthjustice: “Emergency plans are just pro forma for dams, which ordinarily hold water. So it’s a no-brainer that contingency or emergency plans should be necessary for dams that are impounding toxic waste. And yet, it was only until last week the public could see these plans, and only until last month that the EPA actually required them.”
Thom Cmar, Staff Attorney, Coal Program: “Those arsenic numbers are off the charts. ... Their plan is basically, we’re going to dump some chemicals into the wastewater that will help the solid arsenic that might be in particle form settle out more effectively. So, the water will be clearer. It won’t necessarily be clean.”
Thomas Cmar, Staff Attorney, Coal Program: "The rules were essentially establishing a standard that was many years overdue, and I think the industry has quickly adopted it because they've recognized that [failure to address the coal ponds] is a practice that needs to end. This is a significant liability for these plants."
Lisa Evans, Senior Administrative Counsel, Earthjustice: “Coal ash is a toxic substance that if handled incorrectly can take human lives, can make people sick, can ruin the environment, lakes, rivers, streams, permanently.”
Lisa Evans, Senior Administrative Counsel, Earthjustice: “When a state does not submit a program for approval, the requirements of the EPA’s [coal ash] rule remain in effect in that state. For states that have no approved program, the EPA must implement a permit program in that state, but only if Congress provides funding for the EPA to do so.”