In just over three weeks, the EPA will hold the first of five public hearings on its plan to finally regulate coal ash, the nasty, hazardous remains leftover from coal-fired power plants. On August 30, right here in Washington DC, the EPA will hear from hundreds of victims, advocates, community members, environmentalists, activists and everyday citizens about the need to clean up these dangerous dumps and waste ponds filled with decades of contaminated coal ash.
The EPA will also hear from lobby groups like the American Coal Ash Association. Just recently, the ACAA sent out an email to its supporters (which include Duke Energy, American Electric Power, and dozens of other utilities and industry groups) to attend the public hearings in Washington DC, Denver, CO (Sept. 2), Dallas, TX (Sept. 8); Charlotte, NC (Sept. 14) and Chicago, IL (Sept. 16). This confirms what we expected: that industry is going to be out in full force at these public hearings making false claims about the EPA’s approach to regulate coal ash waste dumps and landfills. The EPA has offered two options: one that sets strong, federally enforeable safeguards for coal ash, and another that does nothing to mitigate the threat to our drinking water and health. Guess which one the industry supports?
The ACAA said, "Be sure to include family and social contacts – spouses, children, in-laws, out-laws, friends, acquaintances, and any other social contact you have" to participate in the public hearings.
We couldn’t agree more. Although I have to suggest that any outlaws might want to stay home…we want this to be a lawful event. These public hearings are a great opportunity to speak directly to EPA and stand up against the onslaught of corporate lobbyists who will be out in force. It’s a lot to ask, but we must stand up for clean water, clean air, better health and a brighter future. We need to push back against the pressure from polluters to continue with business as usual!