ACTION ALERT: Tell the EPA NOT To Weaken Coal Ash Standards by Monday, April 30!

ACTION ALERT:  Tell the EPA NOT To Weaken Coal Ash Standards by Monday, April 30!

The EPA is proposing to change the national Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) Rule to weaken groundwater standards, monitoring and restrictions about where coal ash pits are located and they are proposing to allow coal ash lagoons to continue operating. The Alabama Rivers Alliance opposes the proposed rule and asks you to submit comments also opposing the rule to the EPA by Monday, April 30. 

Alabama is fraught with cautionary tales about the dangers of coal ash. For decades, our state’s nine active and inactive power plants have burned coal.  As a result, more than 100 million cubic yards of coal ash exists in Alabama. There are around two dozen coal ash pits; nearly every one is an unlined pond leaking directly into an important river or stream. Coal ash contains carcinogens, toxins and heavy metals — all of which have repeatedly contaminated groundwater, private wells and rivers used for drinking water. The 2018 groundwater monitoring reports showed dangerous contamination surrounding all six coal ash facilities in the state. Additionally, Uniontown, Alabama now stores ash from the 2008 Kingston spill and the town claims serious degradation of health and quality of life thanks to improper storage.

THE EPA SHOULD PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC HEALTH BY WITHDRAWING THIS PROPOSAL.

Submit your comments to the EPA by Monday, April 30 by clicking here or emailing directly to CCRPhase1@epa.gov. 

 

HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS

First, identify yourself and where you live, particularly if you live near a coal ash site.  Copy and paste the comments below and add your own thoughts if you would like.

 

As a concerned citizen of Alabama, I respectfully submit the following comments to express my opposition to the proposed rule.

Due to (1) the major threat coal ash poses to public health, (2) the history of unlined and leaking storage ponds in Alabama, and (3) the positive provisions of the 2015 coal ash rule, I oppose the loopholes and flexibilities within this proposed rule. The proposal seeks to roll back the 2015 rule in favor of a scheme that allows power plants to set their own standards and escape accountability. These provisions will harm communities in Alabama and across the country.

Alabama is fraught with cautionary tales about the dangers of coal ash. For decades, the state’s nine active and inactive power plants have burned coal.  As a result, more than 100 million cubic yards of coal ash exists in Alabama. There are around two dozen coal ash pits; nearly every one is an unlined pond leaking directly into an important river or stream. Coal ash contains carcinogens, toxins, and heavy metals — all of which have repeatedly contaminated groundwater, private wells, and rivers used for drinking water. The 2018 groundwater monitoring reports showed dangerous contamination surrounding all six coal ash facilities in the state. Additionally, Uniontown, Alabama now stores ash from the 2008 Kingston spill; the town claims serious degradation of health and quality of life thanks to improper storage.

DISCRETIONARY REMEDIATION AND MONITORING: The proposed rule would allow facilities to avoid remediation when contaminated waters are not hydrologically connected to drinking waters, or are polluted by other sources. This scheme allows pollution to go unpunished and fails to protect wildlife and riverine health. Facilities may also evade regular monitoring under certain findings. Knowing how severe contamination is in Alabama, these provisions impose too much unnecessary risk for communities near storage ponds.

WEAKER WATER QUALITY STANDARDS: The current rule requires closure and cleanup when pollutants exceed EPA’s water quality standards. The proposal would allow states to work with polluters to set less protective standards. This rollback puts Alabamians at risk by subjecting them to waters in exceedance of what is scientifically and legally safe.

CLOSURE REQUIREMENTS: The proposed rule would allow unlined, leaking ponds to remain open. States and polluters would get to determine whether closure is “necessary.” Political pressure and economic incentives may jeopardize public safety, causing facilities to stay open despite dangerous pollution.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION: Certain underrepresented communities in Alabama will be disproportionately affected because of these rollbacks. Due to the complexity of coal ash storage and EPA’s accelerated timeline, those communities will largely go unheard.

I oppose the proposed rule, as it will hurt water quality, human health, and riverine ecology. I urge the EPA to protect the environment and public health by withdrawing this proposal.

 

Sincerely,

 

[Your Name]

Comments are closed.