On Coal Ash, United We Stand

239 public interest groups urge Pres. Obama to regulate coal ash

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When the EPA said on its website that April was going to be the month when we’d see the first ever federal coal ash regulations, environmental groups were in support. Sure, it would be four months later than what the EPA originally promised when a billion gallons of coal ash spilled across 300 acres in Tennessee, but we remained optimistic.

Now the month is half over and still no coal ash regulations. So, we’re taking our fight up the ladder.

Today, 239 public interest groups representing all 50 states signed a letter to President Obama, asking him to make coal ash regulations public. This unprecedented display of unified support for strong federal safeguards against coal ash is needed to counter the mistruths and fearmongering spread by the coal and power industries.

The broad coalition of groups include national organizations like Sierra Club, Environment America and Greenpeace; water protection groups like Georgia River Network and Neponset River Watershed Association; faith groups like Interfaith Power and Light; wildlife groups like the Izaak Walton League and Defenders of Wildlife; and hundreds more.

We wrote in the letter that, "Continued delay in the issuance of federal regulations for the disposal of the 136 million tons of toxic coal combustion waste generated annually is dangerous and unacceptable. Unmitigated harm, often to low-income and communities of color, continues to threaten the lives and environment of millions of Americans….Releasing the draft rule would trigger the public process of rulemaking, thereby ensuring a fair and open process in which all stakeholders would have an equal opportunity to address the complexities of the proposed rule."

There’s still two weeks left in April, enough time for the EPA, under the leadership of the President, to meet their promise of releasing these coal ash safeguards this month. We hope this extra time has been used to strengthen protections for our health and communities.

Jared was the head coach of Earthjustice's advocacy campaign team from 2004 to 2014.

Earthjustice’s Washington, D.C., office works at the federal level to prevent air and water pollution, combat climate change, and protect natural areas. We also work with communities in the Mid-Atlantic region and elsewhere to address severe local environmental health problems, including exposures to dangerous air contaminants in toxic hot spots, sewage backups and overflows, chemical disasters, and contamination of drinking water. The D.C. office has been in operation since 1978.