USEPA Coal Ash Hearing
SEPTEMBER 16, 9:00 am
720 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
Preregistration deadline: September 13, 2010 by 5:00 pm
Coal ash is the waste left over from the burning of coal to make electricity. It contains toxic chemicals such as arsenic, mercury, selenium, chromium and cadmium. In the past, fly ash was generally released into the atmosphere, but pollution control equipment manda
ted in recent decades now require that it be captured prior to release. Over 40% of this waste product is added to products, such as portland cement, grout and roofing tiles. It also is used for road beds.
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued two proposals for regulating coal ash:
- One regulating coal ash as a special waste under subtitle C of RCRA; and
- One regulating coal ash as a solid waste under subtitle D of RCRA.
Under both options, beneficial reuses of ash are exempted from regulation. It is clear that coal ash is incredibly dangerous, filled with chemicals that cause cancer and nervous system damage. Regulation of coal ash under subtitle C of RCRA (not subtitle D) is essential to protect the health and environment of our communities.
The metal-laden waste, if not properly contained in lined landfills when disposed, will leach toxic chemicals, such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury, to our state’s scarce and precious water. The EPA has already documented eight cases of contamination of groundwater or surface water in Indiana that were caused by coal ash mismanagement. And two of the ash ponds in Illinois have been deemed ‘high hazard’ meaning that there is potential for a disaster similar to that of the TVA Kingston spill in December 2008. See attached flier and letter to Governor Quinn for more details.
This regulation is an important part of addressing the dirty lifecycle of coal from cradle to grave. And you had better bet that proponents of coal and oil will be there to lobby for the proposed regulation of coal ash under subtitle D of the RCRA.