The following is a statement from Earthjustice Legislative Counsel Ben Dunham regarding today’s introduction of the "Coal Ash Reclamation, Environment, and Safety Act of 2009" by Representative Nick J. Rahall II (D-WV):
"When most people didn’t even know what coal ash was, Mr. Rahall was holding hearings, requiring in-depth research, and taking seriously the threat from coal ash. If the Bush EPA had taken the threat as seriously, we probably would not have had the coal ash disaster in Tennessee, the recent spill in Alabama, or the dozens of cases of serious contamination that have occurred across the country.
"We are thankful to see Mr. Rahall moving so quickly to respond to the recent coal ash disaster. The inventory of existing coal ash storage facilities in his bill could help avert future incidents like the one in Tennessee and Alabama.
"To fully address the threat of coal ash, however, EPA must ban the practice of wet storage of coal ash. No amount of regulation can keep these wet ponds — called impoundments — from seeping dangerous toxins into groundwater and potentially collapsing like the Tennessee impoundment. EPA should also put in place strong national regulations for dry disposal or recycling as quickly as possible.
"We look forward to working closely with Mr. Rahall and other interested members of Congress to ensure that the dangerous toxins in coal ash are kept far from people and the environment."