We’re closing in on the 3-year anniversary of the TVA coal ash disaster and there are still no federal regulations in place protecting us from coal ash. And now, another spill: in Oak Creek, Wisconsin a bluff collapsed, sending coal ash and debris from We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant into Lake Michigan.
The Latest On: Coal Ash
On Friday, in a 267–144 vote, a majority of House members voted to keep allowing coal ash to pollute our drinking water. The passage of the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2273) lets states choose to adopt a disposal standard less protective than those for household garbage.
This week, President Obama has conducted a bus tour through my home state of Virginia and North Carolina. The tour focused on job creation and the state of our economy.
Unfortunately, Republican leadership in Congress thinks weakening our clean air and water protections is the foundation of economic renewal.
Somewhere along the road from their home districts to their offices in Washington, D.C., our Congressional representatives got their wires crossed. The American public sent them forth with a mandate to run the country, but instead, they're ruining it.
Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen is strongly denouncing a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives today, passing H.R. 2273, which would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from strongly regulating coal ash:
The anticipated vote on H.R. 2273, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, will be upon us Friday. The bill (sponsored by Rep. David McKinley (WV-R)) would prevent the EPA from establishing a strong national rule to protect American’s health and drinking water from the nation’s second largest industrial waste stream: coal ash.
East Tennessee is not known for its population of environmental activists, but last fall hundreds of people turned up in Knoxville to ask the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt a special waste designation for coal ash. Support for EPA’s public health and environmental safeguard is strong here because the 2008 Kingston coal ash disaster occurred in our backyard, making the danger of toxic coal ash blatantly clear.
The TVA Kingston trial has gotten off to a interesting, yet unsettling start. The trial consists of five cases, representing 250 plaintiffs who are suing TVA over the 2008 coal ash disaster that occurred in Knoxville, TN.
Testimony began last week, and proceedings are expected to continue anywhere from the next few weeks to the next few months. Representatives from TVA have been the first to testify, and so far it has been laden with blame-passing statements that characterize the disjointed nature of the TVA departments.
As a federal trial on the TVA Kingston coal ash disaster continues in Knoxville, some of our elected leaders in Congress are including the coal ash rule (already delayed due to heavy industry opposition) in a list of rules that will be analyzed - and likely even more delayed.
But more on that later.