It’s been a hard year for those of us who dream of our drinking water being free from coal ash contamination. We waited for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to release standards for regulating toxic coal ash and were dismayed to find out they would be delayed until the end of 2012 or even 2013. Then in October, the House of Representatives passed a bill that allows for coal ash to keep polluting our drinking water. That same month a 50-year-old coal ash fill in Wisconsin collapsed, sending toxic waste directly into Lake Michigan.
And if all of that wasn’t enough, the Senate has an identical companion bill, S. 1751, that they will be voting on imminently.
But despite all this, we are grateful.
We are grateful to the nearly 30,000 of you who wrote your senators to oppose this toxic bill. And kudos to the nearly 300 of you who picked up your phones and dialed up your senators to protest this dangerous legislation.
We are thankful to all of you who attended our Nov. 2 Senate briefing on the dangers of coal ash waste. Thank you to Dr. Michael Kosnett (University of Colorado School of Medicine clinical professor) for your moving arsenic presentation. And to Dr. David Kosson (Vanderbilt University Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering) for your superb critique of the often inaccurate testing method used by the EPA to measure coal ash in our water.
And to our champions in Congress – there are a few of you out there:
To Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) who opposed H.R. 2273, calling it a “green-light pass for utility companies to dispose of their waste without regard to public health or the environment.”
And to Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), who had this to say about clean water: “Many of my constituents believe that there is no greater role for Congress to play than to protect their lives and livelihoods by ensuring that all American citizens have access to clean air and water.”
We stand behind and applaud the residents of Bokoshe, Okla. for filing a lawsuit this month against AES Corp. to close a dangerous coal ash pit there.
As we gear up for the third-year anniversary of the TVA coal ash spill, we are thankful to our clean water comrades. We couldn’t have made it this far without you!