October 15, 2018
The Impacts Of The Ash
At a public hearing held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, people from communities across the United States showed up to explain how coal ash contaminates our lives.
Mabette Colon Perez
Dailan Jake Long
William Henry “Dink” NeSmith, Jr.
Dr. Yolanda Whyte
Dr. Avner Vengosh
Earl L. Hatley
Dr. Indra Frank, MD, MPH
“For two decades, I have witnessed families harmed by dumping of toxic coal ash. This damage is senseless, unjust and preventable.
“Under Trump, we are losing hard-won protections of our air and water. We must stop this rollback and protect our nation’s most vulnerable communities.”
Lisa Evans is an attorney at Earthjustice specializing in hazardous waste law. She has represented communities fighting coal ash pollution on many lawsuits, including the multi-year legal fight that led to the first-ever federal safeguards on coal ash dumps.
Four months after this hearing, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals handed a pivotal victory to the American public in a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice, on behalf of public interest groups.
In a lifesaving shift, the court’s Aug. 2018 order required U.S. EPA to increase protections for coal ash waste sites, casting serious doubt on the legality of the agency’s attempts to undermine current standards. (Read an explanation of the court decision.) Meanwhile, the rains and flooding brought by Hurricane Florence the following month threatened disaster at coal ash waste sites throughout the southeast.
Earthjustice attorneys filed more than 120 lawsuits to stop the Trump administration’s attempts to illegally gut environmental and health protections — including a petition for review to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, challenging the U.S. EPA rule designed to gut safeguards of coal ash disposal.
For coal ash, the winds are shifting. Earthjustice continues to work alongside impacted communities to bring industry and federal agencies accountable to the law.