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:
“Nearly three years after the tragic spill of more than 1 billion gallons of toxic coal ash in Kingston, Tennessee, it’s obvious that federally enforceable safeguards for the disposal of this toxic waste are long overdue. In fact, 267 members of the House of Representatives have taken the disturbing step of moving us even further away from this important public safety goal.
“This Congress is turning their backs on what hundreds of communities living near coal ash ponds and landfills really need. Instead, these elected officials are paying attention only to the needs of corporate polluters intent on preserving their old, dangerous way of doing business. Coal ash is a toxic menace. We cannot afford another spill like the one in Tennessee, and the cold truth is that there are dozens of sites that could become another tragedy any day. Moreover, at hundreds of other coal ash sites, drinking water is contaminated with toxic heavy metals that can cause cancer and other diseases.
“A recent study by Tufts University found that federal regulations for coal ash could provide 28,000 new jobs every year. At a time when our economy is struggling and so many Americans are out of work and trying to make ends meet, it’s shameful that 267 members of the House are turning their backs on real jobs. Rather than acting to protect America’s health and environment, it’s obvious that some members of Congress are only acting to protect polluter profits.”