We are reaching out to you today because the U.S. House of Representatives is gearing up to vote on H.R. 1734, Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act of 2015.
Don’t let the name of this bill fool you! If adopted, it would gut the first-ever nationwide EPA rule on coal ash, set to go into effect this fall. Coal ash is what is left over after coal is burned. It contains some of the most toxic substances known to humanity.
Will you call your representative today? All you need to know is presented in the action alert below, which includes how to contact your legislator; background information on HR 1734 and coal ash; a sample script; and talking points.
Please share widely! Your calls can make a difference.
Pam and Lan Richart, Eco-Justice Collaborative
H.R. 1734 guts Federal EPA’s coal ash rule
Protects polluters instead of public health
Since 2008, four major coal ash disasters have threatened lives, livelihoods and water quality in Virginia, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Tennessee, including the largest toxic waste spill in U.S. history. Without federal coal ash regulations, it’s not a matter of if another tragic spill will happen; it’s a matter of when. Communities across our country near leaking coal ash ponds and landfills can wait no longer.
In December 2014, the EPA issued a final coal ash rule that establishes health and safety requirements for toxic ash disposal. But polluters and their cronies in Congress will do whatever it takes to make sure those protections never see the light of day.
Rep. David McKinley (R-WV-01) claims that his bill, H.R. 1734, “improves” the EPA rule—but only if you are a utility who wants to delay the cleanup and closure of dangerous dams and landfills where coal ash is dumped. H.R. 1734 removes, weakens and delays critical safety protections established by EPA in its first-ever coal ash rule.
Coal ash, a waste containing some of the most harmful chemicals known to humanity – arsenic, hexavalent chromium, lead, thallium (rat poison), and mercury – is dangerously dumped at many of the 1,000 disposal sites across the United States (91 of these sites are located in Illinois). Living near coal ash increases your risk for cancer, heart damage, lung disease, respiratory distress, kidney disease, reproductive problems, gastrointestinal illnesses, birth defects, impaired bone growth in children, and behavioral problems.
Take action today! Click this link to find your representative. Then call 202-224-3121, and ask to be directed to him or her, or click here to find the direct number to your member’s office. Tell your representative to vote NO on H.R. 1734. This bill will destroy the EPA’s efforts to regulate coal ash and prevent the EPA from ever regulating the nation’s second largest toxic industrial waste stream.
Don’t let our elected officials represent the interests of polluters by blocking federal coal ash safeguards!
“Hello, my name is ___________________. I am calling to ask you to VOTE NO on H.R. 1734 when in comes up for a vote in the House. This bill will gut newly-adopted EPA rules on the handling and disposal of coal ash, before they even take effect this fall.
Coal ash is a waste stream that contains some of the most harmful chemicals known to humanity, including arsenic; lead; mercury; and thallium, or rat poison.
H.R. 1734 will remove, weaken and delay critical safety protections established by EPA to protect people in your district from this toxic waste. Can I count on you to do the right thing, by voting NO on H.R. 1734?”
BACKGROUND, AND TALKING POINTS
If passed, H.R. 1734 would:
Eliminate the EPA rule’s ban on dumping toxic coal ash directly into drinking water.
Eliminate the requirement for utilities to immediately clean up toxic releases and notify the public.
Eliminate the rule’s guarantee of public access to information about water contamination and assessments of dangerous coal ash dams.
Delay new health and safety protections–potentially for 10 years.
Weaken the EPA rule’s mandate to close inactive (contaminated and abandoned) ponds like the Dan River impoundment that burst last year by extending the closure deadline and allowing legacy ponds to operate without safeguards for at least 6 years.
Delay the closure of leaking unlined ponds that contaminate water above health standards (e.g., with arsenic), allowing polluters to continue to dump into leaking ponds for an additional 8.5 years.
Eliminate the national standard for drinking water protection and cleanup of contaminated sites.
Prohibit effective federal oversight of state programs.
Prohibit EPA enforcement of state program requirements unless invited by a state.